Chris Hogben, head of the NCA-led Invigor organised immigration crime task force, said:

"Tackling the criminals behind these extremely dangerous attempts to funnel illegal immigrants across channel via small boats is an operational priority for the NCA.

"We are devoting significant resources to disrupting this activity, including officers deployed to support the work of our French colleagues, a team of officers developing intelligence on the groups involved, investigators working on UK based crime groups, as well as deploying our full range of specialist covert capabilities to disrupt the criminals involved and pursue their finances.

"As a result of that co-operation dozens of attempted crossings have already been prevented and only last week three suspected facilitators were arrested and charged in France. They will face trial in the New Year.

"Over the last three weeks our French colleagues have disrupted numerous attempts, recovering at least 95 migrants including nine children, and arrested seven people caught attempting to facilitate these crossings.

"Working with our French partners we would anticipate further arrests over the coming weeks and also more attempts to reach the UK are likely.

"Our response to these attempts is not limited to activity around Calais; the NCA-led organised immigration crime task force is working closely with law enforcement partners in the UK and France - as well as upstream in Europe and further afield - to gather intelligence and disrupt the organised crime groups involved.

"The organised criminals behind these most recent attempts are in the main not UK-based, but through our close collaboration with French authorities we are still having an impact on them and their activity.

"We are pursuing operational leads in both the UK and with our French partners, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to bring people smugglers targeting the UK to justice, whether they are operating in the UK itself or France.

"But criminal investigations of this nature are complex and take time. It would not be appropriate to give a running commentary on them.

"Trying to cross the Channel in this way is highly dangerous.

"We know that there have been organised criminals with a complete lack of regard for human life involved in organising many of them, however it is also clear that some of them have been opportunistic and made by migrants themselves without the assistance of organised criminality.

"While these attempts are high profile and high risk, the biggest threat posed by organised criminals trying to smuggle people into the UK remains at south coast ports via HGVs rather than through the use of small maritime vessels."