Calais - UK trucks ‘still being attacked on a daily basis’
RHA says migrants and traffickers continue to threaten safety of drivers, claiming it has evidence of French authorities allowing stowaways to pass undetected.
Despite the closure of the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais in October 2016, cross-Channel trucks are still being attacked on a daily basis, according to the UK’s Road Haulage Association (RHA), which claims it has evidence that some French officers are deliberately allowing migrants to pass their controls undetected by turning off heartbeat monitors at the French border.
The RHA said migrants and their traffickers were continuing to threaten safety of drivers in Calais, for example putting obstacles in the road to force vehicles to stop, as they attempt to reach the UK “by whatever means possible and with total disregard for the safety of themselves or the HGV drivers on which they prey”.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said although the problem may have dropped below the gaze of the mainstream media, it hasn’t gone away.
“Drivers are still being attacked on a daily basis,” he said. “People traffickers are rife and they will attempt to stop trucks by whatever means possible. We get regular reports of traffickers throwing rocks, putting boulders in the road – even lying in the road so that the vehicles have no alternative but to stop.
“This is a humanitarian issue and neither the French nor the British governments are doing enough. It’s also a humanitarian issue for the drivers who just want to do their job in safety but they still face violence and intimidation on a daily basis. It’s not what they signed up for.”
Burnett continued: “The British government needs to be influencing its French counterparts. The British government at the moment is like a revolving door in terms of the number of immigration ministers we have worked with during the past few years. It’s difficult to build relationships, to influence, to make the necessary changes.
“Also from our perspective, there is intelligence and evidence to show that the heartbeat monitors at the French border are being switched off allowing migrants to pass through. Why? Because it’s easier, and because they don’t want to deal with the issue.
“That’s just not good enough. The issue must be dealt with, the migrants must be processed quickly and the RHA will be doing all it possibly can to ensure that the summer of 2018 doesn’t bring continued misery for truckers.”
At the time of writing, Lloyd’s Loading List was unable to confirm with the RHA what intelligence and evidence it had that heartbeat monitors at the French border were being switched off, allowing migrants to pass through, nor whether the RHA had passed this evidence to the UK or French authorities.