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Illegal Migrant Situation Persists as Road Haulage Truck Driver Targeted

Stowaways Enter Lorry a Full 170 Miles from Calais FRANCE – With British eyes firmly on Brexit, particularly those with interests in the freight transport industry, there has been little mention of the current migrant situation as discussions on the Irish border vacillate on a daily basis. Since the final demise[1] of the infamous Jungle camp outside Calais (after an abortive attempt[2] 7 year’s previously) there has been only sporadic media interest in the problem, but an incident involving a UK bound truck in the past week reported by the Road Haulage Association (RHA[3]), taken together with various others since the turn of the year, demonstrate clearly that the problem still exists.

Although for many migrants the ongoing Brexit negotiations, together with the shrunken pound means that travelling to the UK is nowhere near as attractive as in previous years, so there are those hardened cases who still persist in their attempts to reach what they obviously consider the Promised Land. The cost to drivers unwittingly carrying migrants can be extreme financial penalties, whilst encountering the most violent leads to injuries and even death[4].

The latest case which was reported to the RHA demonstrates that, despite the efforts of French Police and military, and British Border Control Agents, there are now ever wider areas in France from which the fugitives can be expected to operate. The latest report says that two migrants attempting to illegally enter Britain actually broke into a UK bound truck a full three hours’ drive from Calais, 170 miles down the road in Reims. The men were apprehended at the Channel port by customs officers.

This report comes shortly after another British trucker stated to the media that lorries in the Caen region, along the Normandy coastline were also being targeted, prompting RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett, to comment: “Despite the millions of pounds UK taxpayers have forked out on security in France, truckers are still running a dangerous gauntlet of migrants desperate to reach the UK. Lorry drivers are fearful every time they cross the Channel and we advise them not to stop within 150 miles of Calais, but it’s clear that this problem is no longer confined to port areas.

Traffickers are targeting UK lorries in towns and cities further afield, so if it’s Reims today where will it be tomorrow?” At the beginning of February a clash between Afghan and Eritrean gangs saw over fifty people injured, causing the drafting in of extra police and causing a rethink of support services for the homeless. The incident sparked violent attacks from France’s political right wing, ironically proposing closer border controls to its EU neighbours just as the countries Brexit negotiators were insisting the UK must maintain open borders to immigrants travelling from Europe.

Last month saw Philippe Mignonet, Calais Deputy Mayor tell the BBC that a hard border would trigger ’15 mile queues and make it easier for illegals to enter Britain’.

As politicians pat themselves on the back for the progress they claim they have made in the current negotiations let us hope that the plight of both the disenfranchised migrants, and the commercial drivers they target, are uppermost in their collective minds.

Illegal Migrant Situation Persists as Road Haulage Truck Driver TargetedIllegal Migrant Situation Persists as Road Haulage Truck Driver Targeted


  1. ^ final demise (www.handyshippingguide.com)
  2. ^ abortive attempt (www.handyshippingguide.com)
  3. ^ RHA (www.rha.uk.net)
  4. ^ even death (www.handyshippingguide.com)

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