Members of Parliament are finally waking up to the war zone that is the Port of Calais. Rob Flello MP has promised to raise the issue of violence at the port with the government, following a trip to Calais to witness the “war zone” for himself, as drivers report the migrants “all have knives”.
Last week Breitbart London broke the story that a Czech driver had narrowly escaped death when migrants threw an 8 foot long wooden stake through the window of his cab. The pictures were shocking, but are merely indicative of the danger faced by drivers of all nationalities every time they pass through Calais, the main gateway for foreign goods into the UK.
Since that incident, many more pictures have emerged of lorry cabs with smashed windows as the migrants continue to hurl bricks, rocks and stones at the vehicles on a daily basis. All week migrants have been clashing with riot police, with as many as 800 migrants mobbing the roads and throwing stones at passing lorries.
Calais: attack on British lorry drivers (11/11/15 Calais illegal migrants attack our British trucks 16 November 2015 pic.twitter.com/dAIrgiDL1l
— Rodger Le Bonk (@jiggerjaggers) November 17, 2015
This German truck hit by rocks thrown by migrants on the Calais port road… pic.twitter.com/b73ZFqOmyd
— Stuart Webb (@Worldwidewebb1) November 26, 2015
Rob Flello, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on freight transport, has travelled to Calais in the midst of the crisis to see for himself the conditions faced by drivers, trade mag Logistics Manager has reported. He said:
“Despite Eurotunnel now becoming a fortress, the access roads have become like a virtual war zone, unsafe for motorists and professional drivers.
“If Calais is to survive as the most economically viable and convenient crossing for freight traffic between the UK and mainland Europe, this situation cannot be allowed to continue. The UK and French governments must get to the heart of the issue to establish safety on the streets of Calais and maintain this vital freight route.”
He has vowed to take up the issue with the Conservative government, saying: “I will be raising this at the highest levels within government and also proposing some further mitigation measures that both Eurotunnel and the Port of Calais can take based on my recent experiences.”
But the drivers themselves are dismissive, having lost faith with the government on this issue long ago.
Reports of violent intimidation of lorry drivers by migrants who are determined to hitch a ride into the UK are not new – some drivers boycotted the port in May of this year over fears a driver would soon be killed – but in recent weeks the level of intimidation has reached new heights.
One driver who passes through the port on a weekly basis told Breitbart London that the atmosphere took a turn for the worse about four months ago. The number of migrants at The Jungle camp has been increasing steadily all year, from around 300 at the beginning of the year to reach approximately 6,000 by November.
The driver, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he has found migrants in his hold a number of times. But he added he would not dare to try to evict them as “they all carry knives,” instead driving on to the port and reporting them to the authorities there.
He has resolved to give up driving on the continent after the New Year, after his wife told him of her constant fear that he wouldn’t return.
This morning rumours circulated on social media that a driver had indeed been killed by a migrant wielding a box-cutter while attempting to evict them from his lorry. The rumours have been denied by the Port Authorities, but are indicative of the climate of fear among lorry drivers taking the route at the moment. One French Facebook post reporting the rumour has been shared nearly 300 times, with many commenting “it is inevitable”.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Hauliers Association, said that despite the deployment of a “specific riot police unit” at Calais, the area still needs more security on the ground.
“We are pleased that the mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart has reiterated our call for the deployment of the military to secure Calais and its environs, but we are still waiting for this call to be acted upon,” said Burnett.