Over 10,000 migrants ‘smuggled into UK each year’ – report

© Marko Djurica
Some 200 people a week, or 10,000 a year, are smuggled into the UK in lorries every year, according to French police and security sources cited by The Telegraph.

The number of so-called “lorry drops” has increased dramatically, the French authorities noted. A “lorry drop” is when migrants hide in the back of a truck or any other vehicle carrying goods, and jump off after reaching the UK.

“Each lorry is packed with dozens of migrants and many are stopped before they reach England. But we are certain that a few get through. The estimate is around 200 a week. We know others are crossing in small boats or vans,” a regional security official said according to The Telegraph. 

The latest figures given by French police show a significant surge compared to official data: the number of those who comes to the UK illegally has doubled over the last year, reaching 6,400, according a report released by the chief inspector of borders and immigration last month.

However, French police say that the real picture could show a much higher number of people arriving in Britain undetected.

First of all, security forces say that gangs of armed people around Calais stop trucks with goods to let migrants in. Also, they block the streets with trees and debris to ensure that the vehicles stop.

Authorities know this too, with the deputy mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, describing the main motorway leading to the airport as a “no-go area” between 12:00am and 6:00am.

Calais regional president, Xavier Bertrand, has urged action.

“When migrants are found in a lorry, they’re usually escorted by police a few hundred metres (yards) away, but most of the time there are no legal proceedings and that must change,” he said, as quoted by The Telegraph.

It’s not the first time that the issue of migrants setting out to get to the UK from northern France: last year, for example, security was stepped up after hundreds of people tried to enter the ferry port and the Eurotunnel.

It is estimated that a few dozens of migrants were able to reach Britain at the time, and authorities had to take measures to fight the inflow, including setting up a “moat” of flooded land around the entrance.

So what is it that attracts migrants to the UK? French officials say that it’s the possibility of getting employed.

“Have you seen a lot of migrants expelled from England? No. Because there are no identity cards and there are certain employers who are happy to hire them and underpay them, knowing that they won’t make a fuss because they’re illegal,” Calais region president Bertrand said, as quoted by The Telegraph.

However, there is something else: the UK Home Office detained almost 18,000 migrants over the past three years, but only one in three of them was deported from the country, recent statistics has revealed, as reported by British tabloid The Sun.

The situation is escalating in Calais, too: the population at the notorious Jungle camp has soared to almost 7,000, according to official figures provided by the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais about a week ago.

Local activists say that the figure is in fact a lot higher: earlier this month, they estimated the population of the ‘Jungle’ to stand at over 9,100 people.

In mid-August, the mayor of Calais Natacha Bourchard called on the army to step in and help the “exhausted” police forces, which are repeatedly being attacked by migrants.