Last updated: 29/08/2023

Who are the Migrant-Hunters?

As the furore around small boats and Channel crossings has increased over the past few years, so too has  so-called “migrant-hunter” and anti-migrant activism around asylum seeker accommodation and processing sites.

Posing as journalists, these activists turn up at accommodation centres and hotels to threaten and harass migrants, asylum seekers and staff – usually filming in the process to share online. They leaflet in the area, drop banners and try to expose the locations of hotels in online forums and chats. Demonstrations and marches have taken place outside hotels or in the town and cities where migrants and asylum seekers are housed.

All of this is broadcast and shared online over social media platforms to spread their hate.

Far-right groups and individuals are often found taking part in this kind of activity, either by organising demonstrations, campaigning in the area or taking advantage of ‘local concerns’ to whip up division and boost their support.

Read HOPE not hate’s analysis of migrant-hunting activity in 2022.

Rise in anti-migrant activism

In the past year, anti-migrant activists have visited asylum seeker accommodation sites 253 times. This is a 102% increase compared to 2021.

Migrant-hunter activity across the UK in 2022

Who are the migrant-hunters?

Amanda Smith (aka Yorkshire Rose) visited asylum accommodation sites 124 times in 2022, a 143% increase on 2021. Smith, from Castleford, is by far the most prolific hotel harasser of 2022. She poses as a concerned local journalist to try to get migrants to talk to her. Her visits at times end in her screaming “traitor” and verbally abusing staff and security. She has nearly 11,000 subscribers on YouTube with 1.8 million views. She has called asylum seekers “filthy animals” and was arrested in January 2021 for causing alarm and distress and banned from North Yorkshire as part of their bail conditions. She has also harassed staff at COVID-19 test centres, claiming COVID-19 is fake. On her accounts she has posted 5G and New World Order conspiracy theories and content from the fascist group Patriotic Alternative.

Alan Leggett (aka Active Patriot) has visited accommodation sites at least 24 times in 2022, an 11% increase on the previous year. His harassment includes entering a canteen and repeatedly calling them “fighting age men” and accosting a child to try and gain details of his travels. He was arrested in January 2021 with Amanda Rose for causing alarm and distress and banned from North Yorkshire as part of their bail conditions. He is most prolific on Twitter with nearly 60,000 followers.

Patriotic Alternative is the UK’s most active fascist organisation. PA is desperate for relevance, and so performs stunts in the hope of provoking outrage and gaining coverage in local and national press. PA’s public output carefully conceals its core Nazi ideology. Patriotic Alternative made 14 visits in 2022. They dropped banners saying “White girls are not Fair Game” in front of hotels and leafleting to stir up hate with messages such as “we’re full”. 

Alek Yerbury is one of the most active far-right anti-migrant activists. He has incredibly extreme views and has praised Thomas Mair, the far-right terrorist who murdered Jo Cox MP. The former Patriotic Alternative member, and Hitler lookalike, has been travelling the country pitching up in communities where asylum seeker housing is being planned or put in place. Yerbury uses marches and rallies and online activism to capitalise on discontent and try to embed himself in campaigns against migrant accommodation. He launched a group called the National Support Detachment. Yerbury has a broad focus but uses anti-migrant sentiment towards a far-right worldview and against the political establishment.

Voice of Wales is a far-right media outlet run by Dan Morgan and Stan Robinson. In 2022 they published at least 15 videos at hotels across Wales, and have been very active in protests this year in Llanelli. Since being banned from YouTube in 2021, they now release their content on its own website and fringe media platforms, like Gettr where they have 16,000 followers and Telegram where they have 4500 subscribers. Not only are they anti-migrant, they publish climate change denial and anti-LGBT+ content centered around opposition to Drag Queen Story Hour events the Welsh Government’s new Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum, which they claim sexualises children and promotes homosexuality. 

Britain First and Paul Golding have carried out 81 visits, a 53% increase on 2021. They also leafletted areas near asylum accommodation, most notably in Linton-on-Ouse where they ran a campaign designed to play on local concerns. Replicating their previous tactic of ‘mosque invasions’ they filmed outside hotels and even entered the accommodation on numerous occasions. Britain First messaging focused on painting asylum-seekers as potential terrorists or sexual predators. The group uses Islamophobic narratives about a “Muslim takeover of Europe” and regularly refers to the “Great Replacement” – a white nationalist conspiracy theory that states the ethnic white population is being demographically and culturally replaced with non-white and specifically Arab and sub-Saharan Muslim populations through mass migration and demographic changes

Steve Laws is one of the most prominent anti-migrant figures who films arriving boats in Dover. He uses the language of “invaders”, “swarm” and the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. He is a former member of For Britain, the now defunct far-right party.

Chris Johnson posts near-daily videos of migrants rescued by the RNLI on his Facebook page. In September 2022, he posted, “The first thing Liz Truss should do is build more prisons because the levels of violence and sexual assaults in the country is unbelievable. Bang them all up. We have a right to feel safe.”

Andrew Leak

HOPE not hate’s archive of his now deleted Twitter account shows a man who extensively consumed and engaged with far-right material and was obsessed with a desire for violence against Muslims and migrants. He replied to ​​Alan Leggett (AKA Active Patriot) at least 73 times and mentioned him a total of 100 times. Other citizen journalists he engaged with online were Jeremy Davis (AKA Little Boats) and Amanda Smith (AKA Yorkshire Rose), whom he replied to 29 and 18 times respectively.

On the morning of the attack he tweeted “Your children will feel the pain we will obliterate them Muslim children are now our target And there disgusting women will be targeted mothers and sisters Is burn alive [sic].”


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