Mandatory Credit: Photo by THIBAULT VANDERMERSCH/EPA/REX/Shutterstock (8273543a) Migrants run in an attempt to climb in the back of a truck on the A25 highway between Lille and Calais, northern France, 06 February 2017. The government have closed migrant facilities in the Calais area to avoid the port town becoming a focal point for migrants to return, however aid groups have reported that hundreds of migrants have returned to the area in the hope of reaching Britain. Migrants returning to the Calais area of northern France - 06 Feb 2017

RHA call on French authorities to tackle migrant crisis and drivers to remain vigilant

French authorities need to tackle the root problem of migrants trying to board trucks bound for the UK as the number of attempts to do so is increasing, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has warned.

Speaking on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on 22 August, the RHA’s managing director of policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie, said the RHA has had many reports from truck drivers who’ve been threatened by migrants in an attempt to get on board their trucks – a situation that is apparently worsening.

“We’re very worried about the important supply chain which operates from Normandy and the disruption that’s happening; some firms and some drivers are pulling out of this work,” he said. “It’s just too frightening.”

The problem of migrants trying to board trucks is not confined to Calais any more. Since The Jungle camp was closed in 2016 migrants are now focusing their attentions on another coastal weak point, the town of Ouistreham, near Caen, according to RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.

“The scene there is now chaotic,” he said. “As in Calais, lorry drivers run a gauntlet of threats and violence 24/7 as they approach the port and each day it’s getting worse.”

RHA members have reported that dozens of migrants line the route along the approach road waiting for an opportunity to break into a truck.

“It clearly shows how desperate these people are to cross the Channel and the easiest way is on the back of a truck,” continued Burnett. “As far as the migrants are concerned, the police are more of an irritant than a deterrent. The rule of law simply isn’t working.

“The French authorities need to get a grip of this crisis, and quickly, before one of these attempts ends in tragedy – for either a migrant or for a UK-bound HGV driver that just wants to do their job.”

McKenzie echoed these sentiments on the Victoria Derbyshire show, saying that the whole thing felt like ‘groundhog day’ as a migrant is stopped by the police, checked over and effectively put back to where they were before.

“It’s up to the French authorities to tackle this at the root of the problem because otherwise it’ll just continue.” he said.

The RHA urges drivers to be vigilant in France after a recent case where migrants were found in the back of a lorry some 350 miles from Calais. Police were called after a truck driver heard noise coming from a refrigerated trailer, which was parked near Dijon in eastern France.

“It just goes to show that migrant attacks aren’t confined to areas within striking distance of the Channel, nor is any truck off-limits,” said Burnett. “Is there anywhere safe for truckers to stop in France? The answer, frankly, is ‘no’.”

About truckand

Check Also

Truck driver injured after being shot at on A14 in Cambridgeshire

A truck driver suffered head injuries after a ball bearing was shot through the windscreen …

Newsletter sign-up

Free subscription includes promotional emails from Truck & Driver you can unsubscribe at any time

 

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Truckanddriver.co.uk will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.

Submitting this form means you’re agreeing to our terms and conditions and confirm that you have read our Privacy Policy and our Cookie Use Policy
Sign up here for our free Truck & Driver Newsletter