Yesterday gangs were seen clambering onto the back of trucks queueing to board Channel Tunnel shuttles in the French port. Calais has seen a sharp rise in the number of people from the Middle East and Africa who have set up makeshift camps while waiting to attempt the journey. It’s believed they are making more brazen attempts because it has become harder to cross the Channel by boat.
A gang of 15 migrants attacked a British lorry driver with rocks on Wednesday. Andy Couper, 57, of Dorset, was left cut and bruised after the incident in Calais.
The Road Haulage Association’s Paul Mummery has been reported as saying: “We are seeing an upsurge in problems as there is more desperation to get here as soon as possible.”
The association said migrants had switched to threats of violence in an attempt to bully lorry drivers into taking them across.
Traffickers are exploiting their fears that it will be harder to reach the UK after Britain leaves the single market on December 31.
The association warned it had contributed to a “perfect storm” – coinciding with new tougher measures by French police to prevent migrant boats leaving beaches and winter closing in.
The Home Office anticipated traffickers’ potential switch to lorries last month when it earmarked a portion of the extra £28million to pay for extra security measures at other commercial ferry ports.
A record 8,500 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats so far this year – seven times the number for the whole of last year.