115,000 Crossing Attempts from Calais in 2017 as Illegals Brawl with Knives, Iron Bars

Calais
PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

French officials have revealed there were more than 100,000 attempts on Britain’s border last year from Calais, where violence has risen along with the number of illegal immigrants returning to the port town since the ‘Jungle’ camp was cleared.

Despite the official number of migrants living in Calais standing at just a tenth of the figure seen in October 2016, when the camp was demolished and migrants sent to accommodation across France, the number of attempts to break into Britain fell by only a third.

A source at the French presidency said there were around 115,000 cases in which illegal immigrants tried to breach the Channel Tunnel or board lorries and trains in the hope of reaching the UK in 2017, compared to 167,000 attempts made in 2016, The Times reports.

The number of migrants living in Calais as they seek to break into Britain is thought to currently stand at around 500 to 700, down from an estimated 7,000 before the ‘Jungle’ was evacuated, but violent clashes between gangs of illegal immigrants still plague the northern French town, where a truck driver heading to the UK died last year as a result of migrant attack.

According to The Times, riot officers had to intervene on Sunday night after gunshots alerted them to a fight between migrants from Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, who were armed with knives and iron bars.

And late last year an officer was hurt when hit by a car carrying nine immigrants as the vehicle’s driver attempted to evade a roadblock set up by police, on a day in which five Afghans were injured in a shootout between groups of migrants.

French president Emmanuel Macron is making a visit to Calais on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s talks with UK premier Theresa May, at which she will discuss the situation at Britain’s border with France.

According to a source at the Élysée, the prime minister has bowed to French pressure and at the British-Franco summit at Sandhurst will hear demands that the UK “accept more lone child migrants and to accept them faster”, and that the nation welcome immigrants with “a legitimate case to join family members” in Britain.

During and after the so-called Jungle camp’s clearance last year, more than 750 “unaccompanied minors” were brought from Calais to the UK in a move accompanied by some controversy, as a number of supposed ‘child migrants’ photographed among the coachloads of people transferred from the northern French town looked far older than 17, sporting deep wrinkles and receding hairlines.

While MPs urged stronger age checks for migrants to restore confidence in the system, after some outcry, the Home Office took measures to conceal new arrivals from the public eye, erecting screens and scaffolding.

.