Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Scandal of Stowaway Migrants Needs Firm Action by French Police Says Road Haulage Group

As the Problem Escalates Steps Must be Taken to Avoid Another Calais Jungle Camp
Shipping News Feature
FRANCE – UK – A few weeks ago one of our reporting staff travelled through the port of Ouistreham to embark on the Brittany Ferries service to Portsmouth and, on passing through the outskirts of Caen, which is served by the port, noted the number of young migrants playing football and generally sitting around. At the port itself there were several obvious attempts to smuggle away by individuals, all thwarted quickly by local militia, police and Border Control personnel.

On disembarking our man saw two young men apprehended when found hidden in a small, privately owned car carrying trailer, on enquiring to be told this was ‘usual’ by a Border Force official. Now it appears that the situation has taken a turn for the worse and the Road Haulage Association (RHA), whose members observations are often the barometer by which these things are best judged, have reported on the downturn.

Accusing the French authorities of still not doing enough to protect hauliers driving into the port the RHA warns of a deteriorating situation in the Normandy port after social media videos emerged last week showing gangs of migrants breaking into moving lorries bound for the UK.

One video shows a group of migrants chasing after a port-bound lorry, opening the trailer doors and jumping on board whilst the vehicle was still moving. This despite the police pursuing them. RHA members report that dozens of migrants line the route along the approach road waiting for an opportunity to break into a lorry. Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said:

“Since the Calais Jungle was closed in 2016, migrants, with the sole intention of reaching the UK by whatever means possible, are now focusing their attentions on another coastal weak point, the town of Ouistreham. The scene there is now chaotic. As in Calais, lorry drivers run a gauntlet of threats and violence 24/7 as they approach the port and each day it’s getting worse.

“[The videos] clearly show how desperate these people are to cross the Channel and the easiest way is on the back of a truck. As far as the migrants are concerned, the police are more of an irritant than a deterrent. The rule of law simply isn’t working. The French authorities need to get a grip of this crisis, and quickly, before one of these attempts ends in tragedy, for either a migrant or for a UK-bound HGV driver that just wants to do their job.”

Regular readers may recall that amongst the dozens of stories we have run on this subject, near disaster has been all too often the result of illegal acts by disenfranchised migrants, ending in tragedy last June when a driver was killed as a direct result of this situation. It is imperative that the situation witnessed in Calais is prevented from spreading to Caen, and indeed the other Channel ports such as Le Havre, Dieppe, Cherbourg and St Malo.

Photo: From Bottom Left: Migrants receiving charity supplies in a field outside Caen, Gendarmes follow a group of migrants adjacent to the port and an attack on a moving Hungarian truck. This last involved approximately 70 young males finally forcing the back doors of the trailer and several clambering aboard as the vehicle pulled away. If the driver was unaware and the stowaways found by the authorities he or she may be liable to thousands of pounds in fines.