Haulage company boss quits Britain after paying 400,000 in fines for illegal immigrant stowaways
Last updated at 19:09pm on 22nd January 2008
Fines of up to 5,000 can be imposed on those carrying immigrants into the country (File picture)
A haulage tycoon has pulled his lorries out of Europe for the first time in 30 years declaring: “Illegal immigrant fines are putting me out of business.”
Fed-up Derek Linch has called time on his Euro venture because stowaway immigrants are costing his drivers 5,000 in fines every time they come back to the UK.
The frustrated lorryman said he was forced to quit the continent because immigration chiefs routinely slap fines on his drivers – despite not knowing immigrants have sneaked on board.
The 58-year-old, from Kent, said the decision will cost his flagship business – one of the largest independent hauliers in the country – a whopping 400,000 a year.
He said today “It's crazy – the situation is out of control.
“In the last four years it has got worse.
“More and more people are desperate to get into this country.
“It's like they are coming to the promised land because they know they are going to get looked after.”
The trucking mogul used to have four vehicles working across Europe out of Dover.
But he has been forced to wind up the operation – losing 400,000 a year – after one of his drivers was fined was recently fined 5,000.
He said: “That was the final nail in the coffin.
“When you are fined for going about your business it is not worth the aggravation.
“The way they treated the driver was like he was a criminal.”
And he revealed dozens of immigrants sneak on his lorries at night when drivers are asleep in their cabs in France awaiting the next train or ferry.
He said: “They go round picking and choosing which lorry to board before clambering aboard – there's nothing the drivers can do about it.
“Of course they check as much as they can but they even jump on when the lorries are moving.
“It's not right to fine us for that – we are not the border police. It's not our job.
“We're just trying to make a decent wage at the end of the day.”
And he slammed the Immigration Service for boasting that they stopped 17,000 illegals from entering the country last year.
He said: ” But what about the 17,000 coming in they don't know anything about?
“It's about time the Government got its house in order.”
Freight Transport Association director Geoff Dossetter backed Mr Linch.
He said: “The Home office treat the transport industry with suspicion believing lorry drivers are the cause of the problem rather than the victim.
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