Jihadist fanatics returning from foreign battlefields might use the chaos at Calais as a means of sneaking back to the UK undetected. Terror suspects and extremists have already used illegal immigrants as cover to enter Europe and hiding in lorries could provide a new opportunity to cross the Channel undetected.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, stressed police were not aware of any examples so far but accepted: “It is a concern, it is possible”, according to the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper reports French authorities have now drafted in extra police at the port and James Brokenshire, the British immigration minister, confirmed extra resources were being provided at Dover to enhance checks here.
As far as UKIP leader Nigel Farage is concerned, all that is a case of trying to shut the door after the illegal immigrant has bolted. He said:
“As a regular traveller by car through Calais, I’ve seen first hand a marked deterioration in the situation around the port.
“This will only get worse as huge numbers of people continue to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in response to a clear EU message that nobody will be sent back.
“The UK has become the number one destination of choice due to the size of our employment black market and the failure to deport 75% of caught illegal immigrants. David Cameron’s words at PMQ’s today will not deter a single illegal immigrant from trying to break into a car or a lorry.”
Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said every truck arriving at the terminal on the French side would now have to be systematically searched to check no migrants had managed to slip inside.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “We have got to do more to break the link between getting on a boat in the Med and getting settlement in Europe. Otherwise these vast numbers will just keep on coming. That’s why the Government is setting up a dedicated law enforcement team to tackle organised immigration crime in the Med region.
“Around 90 officers will be deployed in the UK, the Mediterranean and Africa to pursue and disrupt these organised crime groups profiting from the people smuggling trade.
“They will exploit every opportunity at source, in transit countries and in Europe to smash the gangs’ criminal operations and better protect the UK from this threat.”
Meanwhile cross-Channel ferry and train services are returning to normal after a wildcat strike at Calais by French ferry workers brought chaos for passengers travelling between the UK and France.
The Guardian reports there were long queues for the Eurostar at St Pancras on Wednesday morning but the first trains left on time. Eurostar was returning to a “full and normal service”, although customers were advised to allow at least 45 minutes to check in, while P&O Ferries said its Dover to Calais crossings were fully operational with spaces available.
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