French police have reported around 300 migrants camped in Calais have tried to force their way onto lorries queuing at the town’s Ferry Port, reports the Telegraph.
As lorries wait to board cross channel ferries to the UK, migrants living in ‘The Jungle’ – a shanty town based around a derelict building near the industrial area of Calais, try to board the vehicles in a desperate attempt to get to the UK.
“The migrants tried to storm a long line of lorries backed up on the motorway outside Calais,” said a police union spokesman, Gilles Debove.
“Police fired tear gas to deter them, but some still managed to climb into the lorries,” Mr Debove said. “The officers on duty were overwhelmed and called in reinforcements from Boulogne.”
There appeared to have been a tail back for lorries going into the port which provided an opportunity for the migrants who hang around the side of the road in large gangs, to try to stow away.
Police are stationed around the entrance to the port but they are hugely outnumbered by migrants and there are not enough to cover the full distance of the road should the queue be over a few hundred yards long.
He said any migrants hiding in the lorries would be detected by scanners in the port and removed before the vehicles boarded ferries.
In our exclusive report from Calais we revealed that migrants, mainly from Eritrea, Sudan, Libya and Afganistan, enter the EU’s Schengen Area easily. They are picked up as they cram into boats bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa where the Italian and Frontex (EU border agency) forces pick them up and take them on land.
From then, we were told by the migrants that they were told they could go wherever they like and told us they were not aware of the restrictions to travel to the UK.
The authorities estimate that about 1,500 migrants are now living rough in woods and wasteland around Calais or squatting in disused buildings in the city.
Britain has given £12 million to the French specifically to cope with the increased costs for the Calais authorities on dealing with the migrants. However, in her article for Breitbart London South East MEP Janice Atkinson, who represents Dover in the European Parliament, said she was told the money has not been received in the town.
The town’s Deputy Mayor, Philippe Mignonnet, was also reported to have said that they did not know what to do with the security fences also donated by Britain, which were used at this year’s Nato summit in Wales.
Mr Debove said the police were “concerned” about the proposed use of the fencing as while it would limit entry points into the port it will create a tunnel effect.
“The fence will probably form a kind of tunnel into the port and it might be even more difficult to disperse migrants once they get into this confined space. They will only be able to go forwards or backwards and I think there’s a risk that it could lead to mass stampedes if we try to remove them from the area.”
Mr Mignonnet has estimated that about 40 migrants a day reach Britain, which adds up to about 14,000 a year.
Calais has been a crossing point to the UK for years and the problem is hardly a new one – although there have still been no effective ways of stopping the camps from springing up since the Sangatte centre was closed 12 years ago.
The number now gathered in Calais, which is not a big town, has reached unprecedented levels.
The French authorities arrested more than 5,000 migrants at the Italian border in the first six months of this year, most of whom were intending to try to reach Britain.
The mayor, Natacha Bouchard, has called for a new Sangatte-style centre to move the migrants out of the city. She wants Britain to provide more funding, arguing that the migrants are only there because they want to settle in the UK.