'Illegals' Sneaking Through Calais Fences
Illegal immigrants are still sneaking into Britain from France because of bad fencing in Calais.
Updated:11:28, Wednesday March 05, 2008
Immigrants flock to Calais
Hundreds of people have apparently been able to climb through barriers and get on board lorries across the Channel – even after supposedly fool-proof searches were carried out.
A House of Lords committee revealed that inadequate fencing at the French port allows “determined” illegal immigrants to stow away after the vehicles had passed through security.
The peers, who visited Calais as part of a probe into Europe's borders, said 1,500 “illegals” a year were found in parked vehicles after official checks.
The revelation will be embarrassing for the Home Office, which has spent millions providing hi-tech scanning equipment in Calais and other European ports.
Heartbeat sensors, CO2 probes to detect exhaled breath and “passive millimetre wave” scanners that can “see” through vehicles have all been provided at the UK taxpayer's expense.
The equipment has been operating at Calais since October 2004.
Lord Jopling, of the Lords EU Committee on Home Affairs, said: “We were surprised to find inadequate fencing, the replacement of which might prevent 1,500 illegal immigrants a year from boarding lorries bound for Britain.
“This would be entirely in British interests. The British and French authorities must take immediate action to remedy this.”
The report said the poor fencing was the “one weak point in an otherwise excellent system”.
The peers also backed the Government's decision not to join the European Union's Schengen agreement, which would force the UK to drop its border controls for EU travellers.