02 April 2014
The Daily Mail
By John Stevens
Blind to the danger, a gang of would-be immigrants run to board a moving lorry. To them it is a passport to a new life in Britain. In fact it is a potential death trap.
Four other migrants died in just one week in Calais, it emerged last night, and scenes like the one pictured are being repeated every day at the French port.
The dramatic images were captured as an ominous report by MigrationWatch:
* Warned immigration from the EU will bring enough people to fill a city the size of Manchester here every four years;
* Called for ministers to deny migrants access to Britain’s generous system of in-work benefits, such as tax credits, for the first five years they are here.
In Calais, hundreds of migrants from outside the EU are living in a camp yards from the perimeter fence of the port.
Charities say there are more than 600 in the town, the greatest number since the closure of the Red Cross camp at Sangatte in 2002 – and they are taking advantage of gaps in security and a minimal police presence.
On March 9 an Albanian man was killed on a motorway outside the town. Three days later, Ethiopian Mesfin Germa was hit by a lorry as he walked to the port.
The body of a 25-year-old Ethiopian man, Senay Berthay, was found in Calais’s Batellerie dock on March 14 and the next day a fellow Ethiopian in his 20s was crushed to death by a car while hiding on a vehicle transporter.
It is thought he had been among a group of three men who got on the truck and then realised it was going in the wrong direction.
A French police spokesman said: ‘The Polish driver heard a noise and stopped suddenly. One of the vehicles on board his truck backed into the stowaway and killed him. He was left lying in a pool of blood.’
But fatalities and failed attempts do nothing to weaken the remaining migrants’ resolve to reach Britain.
When asked why they were trying to board the lorries, one told the Mail: ‘We have to go to your country. Take me to England.’
Most of the migrants are sleeping in the main camp on a disused railway line just beside the main port where ferries go to Dover.
Men gathered for several hours at the junction near the port, relentlessly trying to break into vehicles or get underneath to sit on the axle, but police did nothing. When a force car passed by it did not stop and no attempt was made to apprehend the men.
At a second location, migrants were able to get beyond the port’s perimeter fence by freely walking through an unmanned entrance before climbing up on a bank beside the road that lorries have to drive down to get on to the ferries.
The men were witnessed crouching down at the side of the road, which is inside the port, before jumping out and trying to get on to lorries when they were forced to slow down because of a build-up of traffic.
British lorry drivers, who are fined £2,000 if found carrying an illegal migrant, said ‘extremely light-touch’ policing by the French meant they were ‘sitting ducks’ for those wanting to smuggle themselves across the Channel.
Ahmed, 31, from Afghanistan, who is one of the migrants sleeping in more than 100 tents in the camp, said he was confident he would get to Britain.
‘I will get there – I have to. I have lived in countries throughout Europe since I left Afghanistan five years ago, but Britain is where I want to be,’ he said.
‘We either try to get in the back of lorries, or get underneath and on to the axle depending on how many seconds we think we have when they stop at junctions or have to slow down on the road into the port.’
Another Afghan man, 38-year-old Sardar Wali, said: ‘The police do not stop us. Even if you get caught, the police let you go, and you can try again.’
Lorry driver Keith Taylor, 57, said he does not believe French police have any desire to stop migrants getting on to vehicles going to Britain, adding: ‘They just turn a blind eye. Why would they try to stop them?
‘They do not want them living here. I do not stop my lorry here if I am on my way to Dover as it is too risky. If you stop anywhere, you know they will try and break in.
Familiar tactic: A gang tries but fails to get into one lorry…
… so they race to try their luck on another