A QUARTER of the patrol boats trying to stem the tide of Channel migrants will be out of action in January and February.
The bill to mend HMC Seeker, one of five cutters, and HMC Nimrod and HMC Eagle, two of six Coastal Patrol Vessels, could top £400,000.
Around 40,000 Channel migrants have arrived this year.
A Home Office source said: “This will no doubt cause problems for a team already under a huge amount of pressure.
“There’s no sign of these journeys stopping and without their main boats for defence it will only get worse.
“There’s a fear the numbers will explode.”
Another cutter, HMC Protector, had works from the summer until November.
The Home Office refused to comment on the repairs.
But it is believed repair work on the trio boats will be scheduled to overlap as little as possible.