Someone will be killed in 'lawless' Calais, UK hauliers warn


British hauliers fear someone will be killed amid escalating unrest in Calais as migrants grow frustrated at their inability to reach the UK.

Riot police and migrants camped near the northern French port city have clashed this week, resulting in 27 officers suffering minor injuries.

British lorry drivers have been caught up in the unrest and violence, with one haulage boss saying Calais has descended into lawlessness.

Toby Ovens, director of Broughton Transport Solutions, said: "I have no doubt that soon someone will get killed.

"Calais is a lawless place. The police in Calais were just watching immigrants attack vehicles."

He added: "The situation in Calais was dire on Tuesday night.

"I had two drivers attacked by missiles thrown by immigrants at my vehicles and damage done to the vehicle.

"One of the drivers was female and they attempted to open the doors to her vehicle and when they didn't succeed they attacked the vehicle, leaving her very shaken.

"This situation is completely unacceptable. We, as hauliers, need someone we can go to in order to sort this situation."

Mr Ovens said he was now on the verge of pulling out of European haulage after operating abroad for more than 30 years.

Tensions have risen in Calais since the imposition of tough new security measures, including 15ft-tall, razor-topped fences and increased police patrols near the 6,000-strong migrant camp dubbed the Jungle II.

The numbers at the camp have been boosted as the crisis in Calais is part of a wider migrant surge in to Europe from countries in north Africa and the Middle East.

At least 15 migrants have died in or near the Channel Tunnel since the start of the cross-Channel migrant crisis at the beginning of the summer.

As winter gets under way, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said migrants were becoming "increasingly frustrated" at their failed efforts to board UK-bound trucks.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said the account from Mr Ovens was one of many examples they have received as he called for a redoubling of security on the port's approach roads.

He said: "This has become an absolutely untenable situation. We are now getting reports of extreme violent migrant activity on a daily basis."

He went on: "As we predicted several months ago, it is the port approach roads that need increased security.

"Our observer spoke to drivers who have witnessed migrants standing on port approach road bridges, throwing rocks onto truck windscreens, forcing them to stop.

"The situation must be resolved now. Waiting until someone gets killed is simply not an option."

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said the Government was working with the French at political and operational levels to bolster security and help keep traffic moving.

He said: "I recognise the importance of the haulage industry to UK trade and prosperity and a key aim of Border Force is supporting the legitimate and safe movement of goods across the UK border.

"Last month, the French Minister of Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, announced the deployment of a further 300 gendarmes and 160 CRS riot police to the region which have now deployed. This represents a rise of nearly 60%, and we have reports that this is having an immediate impact."

The Government had contributed tens of millions of pounds towards a package of measures aimed at boosting security and keeping traffic moving.

"By the end of November, Border Force will have doubled its contracted freight searching and sniffer dog capacity at the juxtaposed ports.

"France has also opened up thousands of new places in its asylum system, away from Calais, and this week we have started to see migrants voluntarily leave northern France in their hundreds to take up these places.

"The message is clear - those in genuine need of protection will find it elsewhere in France, and should not travel to Calais," he said.