Britain must use every possible tactic to halt the “vile trade” of traffickers bringing record numbers of migrants across the Channel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday. Asked by a Conservative MP when Britain would take direct action to send back boats coming from France, Johnson condemned “the cruel behaviour of the gangsters, the criminal masterminds” behind the crossings. He said they were taking money from “desperate frightened people” to take them on a “very, very dangerous journey” across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The government said that a record 828 people crossed over on a single day in late August, as traffickers take advantage of favourable weather. The Home Office said 785 migrants arrived on Monday, the second highest daily total this year. AFP witnessed a group of migrants arriving on a beach in Dungeness on England’s southeast coast on Tuesday after being rescued by a lifeboat. On Wednesday, one local resident who charters fishing boats said police “hadn’t been able to keep up” with the number of arrivals this week. “I found five (migrants) sitting over on the beach the other morning – they’d burnt their mobile phones in a fire,” the man, who declined to be named, said. “You used to get a boatload now and again. Now you’re looking at three, four, five, if not more, in a day.” The growing number of boats is proving increasingly embarrassing for the government, which has repeatedly vowed to clamp down on the arrivals and pledged tighter border controls after Britain’s exit from the European Union. Britain’s plan to punish migrants shows it learned nothing from truck deaths Johnson praised interior minister Priti Patel for dealing with the problem “in the best possible way, which is to make sure that they don’t leave those French shores”. In cooperation with Britain, France has doubled police officer numbers on its beaches, preventing more than 10,000 crossing attempts. But Johnson added that “clearly as time goes on and this problem continues, we are going to have to make sure that we use every possible tactic at our disposal to stop what I think is a vile trade”. MPs are scrutinising proposed government legislation that would make it harder for those who enter the UK to stay by claiming asylum. Controversially, it would make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission. Johnson said migrants should “understand that there is a price to pay if they come to this country in an illegal fashion”. At least 130 Europe-bound migrants dead after shipwreck off Libyan coast Patel held “constructive” talks with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin later on Wednesday. “I made clear that delivering results and stopping crossings were an absolute priority for the British people,” she said on Twitter. British media reports have suggested London could withhold millions of pounds in funding to help tackle the problem if more was not done. But a French interior ministry source said there had “never been any question of making payment conditional on numerical targets”. “Such an approach would reflect a serious loss of confidence in our cooperation,” the source said.