UK

Calais migrant chaos: 'I've been threatened with machetes'

Migrants on the back of a tanker Image copyright Gigia Marchiori

Cross-Channel transport is starting to return to normal after a strike by ferry workers which gave hundreds of migrants the chance to try to board queuing lorries.

French workers blocked roads and damaged a train line by starting fires. Migrants, trying to reach the UK, took advantage of the chaos and boarded lorries stuck in the traffic.

Drivers waiting to board ferries and those using Eurotunnel describe the wait with many witnessing hundreds of migrants along the side of the road.


Image copyright Other

Charlie a lorry driver in Calais described the situation as "utter chaos"

"I myself have been threatened with machetes and crow bars from migrants trying to gain access to mine and surrounding vehicles, when we stop them.

While waiting to board the train I saw one migrant removed from the trailers axles.

It took just shy of 11 hours 30 minutes from joining the queue to boarding the train. Whilst this has been one of the longest waits yet it is regularly like this.

I can't see a clear end in sight unfortunately."


Image copyright Mark Bloomer

Truck driver Mark was in Calais on Tuesday

"I have just spent practically the whole day trying to get over to Calais in my truck. I opted for Eurotunnel as I imagined the delays would be less. How wrong was I!

Once boarded we breathed a sigh of relief as I was finally on the way. After about 20 minutes the train ground to a halt within the tunnel.

We were not given much info but after about 15 minutes we were told that we were returning to the UK.

Once back in Ashford we waited for a couple of hours before being told we would be going back to Calais. The Eurotunnel staff came down with sandwiches and crisps as by now we were all starving.

On getting off in France I witnessed large queues of trucks waiting for the port to open plus large numbers of migrants.

As a truck driver doing this crossing on average once a week something must be done to curb this migrant problem.

We should not have to put our lives, cargo and vehicles in danger and the UK government should do more to protect us.

We should not be expected to be unofficial immigration officials, we are doing an important job and should be given guarantees of our safety and a smooth passage through to the UK from Calais.

The situation will only get worse and the UK with its soft policies are entirely to blame.

We truck drivers are at the sharp end of it and one day one of us is going to get killed."


Image copyright Graham Pier

Richard Jameson runs a small transport company with drivers making the Channel crossing each week

"The situation out there is getting increasingly bad. I am seriously concerned for the safety of my drivers!

I currently have a truck stuck in Belgium trying to return to the port of Calais, I am not sending him into the Eurotunnel terminal just yet as I know he will be caught in traffic and will have migrants trying to break into our trailer.

I have another truck heading towards Dover right now and I know he will be caught in the traffic queuing in operation Stack!

The level of intimidation and violence my drivers (and all the rest) are receiving by the immigrants rises by the day as they travel through Calais.

They are openly throwing rocks at any truck drivers who try and warn other drivers about illegal migrants climbing on trailers.

Last month two migrants climbed under our trailer and hung onto the axles while it was being made to queue out on the motorway.

Luckily another driver warned my driver and we were able to get the French Police to remove them.

My drivers and myself are worried for their safety and no one seems to care."


David Robinson-Smith was travelling back to the UK on Tuesday

"I'm travelling back on a motorbike from a trip to the French Alps.

Coming into the port area it was absolutely flooded with migrants.

Lots of immigrants outside were jumping on board articulated lorries. Police are pepper spraying underneath the trailers and they drop out like flies.

We were filtering through and they seemed quite jovial. None of them was particularly aggressive to us.

But we've heard people saying they had to wind up their windows and lock their doors, so I can see how it could be intimidating.

Now we're just waiting for news at the terminal. We can't leave and most people, like us, are just hanging on for news."

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