DOZENS of boat engines have been stolen in Calais to help propel hundreds of migrants across the Channel on cheap dinghies, the Sun on Sunday can reveal.
Smugglers have been nicking the motors for months at the Port de Plaisance, where hundreds of boats are docked.
Worth up to £3,000, they are taken from fishing and pleasure boats at night. Smugglers then charge at least £1,000 per head for the dangerous crossing.
Local Dominique Blondel, 49, said around 40 engines had been taken since May.
He said: “The engines are very expensive so they’re stealing them and strapping them on to dinghies. We’re fed up. These people work in groups and have lookouts in case of security and police.
“There will have been many more stolen in other nearby areas too.”
Thieves also stole five inflatable rescue boats worth around £11,000 from a lifeboat training centre.
Boulogne lifeboat station boss Gerard Barron said: “Three were recovered on UK waters and brought back by Border Force.”
Pictures emerged this week showing hundreds of dinghies stacked at a Home Office warehouse in Dover, Kent.
So far this year, 3,252 migrants have made the perilous crossing. Two attempted it in a kayak on Thursday.
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