الجمعة , يونيو 12 2020

Migrant breaches of Eurotunnel 'down'

Migrant tents near Calais

Several thousand migrants are living in a makeshift camp in Calais known as The Jungle

The number of migrants trying to get into the Eurotunnel terminal near Calais has fallen to about 150 a night, the operator says, down from a high of 2,000 at the end of last month.

The company said extra security measures recently put into place were making a “real difference”.

But it says the number of attempted break-ins remains “unacceptable”.

Migrants in Calais make nightly bids to cross the Channel into the UK, causing delays on some cross-Channel services.

The UK government says it is spending £7m to improve security at Eurotunnel, but accepts there is still more work to do.

Extra fencing, paid for by the UK, has been erected, aimed at making it harder for migrants to get onto the platforms and trains at the terminal.

However, French police have told the BBC the fences are a “short-term solution” and that migrants will simply move to places where security is weaker.

Extra measures


Despite the increased security, nightly breaches are still taking place

Eurotunnel said an increase in police numbers is keeping some migrants from getting near the terminal, leading to fewer disruptions for passenger and freight trains.

It also said the fall in the number of attempted break-ins was a “huge improvement”, adding that most of those gaining access to the terminal were being apprehended by security guards.

However, the operator does believe that some migrants are still managing to make it to Britain.

Previously agreed security measures between the British and French authorities include:

  • Extra private security guards, funded by the UK, to boost an existing 200-strong team
  • An increased presence of French police on the borders throughout the summer
  • Additional fencing, funded by the UK, installed around the Eurotunnel perimeter as required, with higher boundaries and extra layers where necessary and a large metal barrier to protect Eurotunnel platforms
  • Extra CCTV, infra-red detectors and floodlighting to secure key segments of the perimeter fence

Prime Minister David Cameron defended the UK government’s handling of the Calais migrant crisis on Saturday, insisting it was trying to make sure illegal immigrants could not “break into Britain”.

“We need to… break the link between getting on a boat in the Mediterranean and getting the right to settle in Europe,” he said.

Officials estimate that 250,000 people may have crossed by boat into Europe this year.

More than 40 migrants died in an overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s Songs of Praise will include footage filmed at a makeshift church in the largest migrant camp near Calais, known as The Jungle.

Producers have been criticised for their decision to visit the camp, but the BBC’s head of religion and ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, said the programme would be “looking at how people express their faith” and was “not a political statement or a judgement on migration”.

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