Friday 30 September 2016

Security to be increased as thousands storm Channel Tunnel

Dean Gray in London

Published 30/07/2015 | 02:30

Migrants make their way along train tracks as they attempt to access the Channel Tunnel in Frethun, near Calais. Photo: Reuters
Migrants make their way along train tracks as they attempt to access the Channel Tunnel in Frethun, near Calais. Photo: Reuters
Migrants step over a fence to enter in the Eurotunnel area, in Calais, northern France. Photo: AP

The British and French governments have pledged to increase security at the Eurotunnel after one migrant died during an attempt by hundreds to storm the Channel Tunnel.

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Eurotunnel has revealed that since the beginning of the year it has blocked 37,000 migrants trying to make their way to Britain, and that in the past month nine people have died trying to cross the Channel. It said that on Monday night 2,000 attempts had been made by people to storm the tunnel, and that it had fielded 1,500 more last night - when a man believed to be a Sudanese national was crushed under a truck.

Although no one succeeded last night, it is thought that up to 148 people made it to the UK after Monday's incursion.

British home secretary Theresa May said that the French and British governments needed to work with Eurotunnel to quickly address the issue.

Ms May said: "Crucially, what we are looking at now is improving security at the railhead at Coquelles, so we can ensure people are not trying to come through the tunnel.

"That means some urgent work in government but also with Eurotunnel, and Eurotunnel has a role to play here in the measures they themselves put in place to protect their trains."

Resources

However, a spokesman for Groupe Eurotunnel, which operates the Channel Tunnel, said that since the arrival of migrants in the area around Calais, it has invested more than €160m in physical resources - fences, cameras, infra-red detectors - and personnel.

The spokesman also said that Eurotunnel had kept the Intergovernmental Commission for the Channel Tunnel and authorities informed about the "explosion" in the number of migrants currently present in Calais.

"The pressure exerted every night is above and beyond that which a concessionaire can reasonably handle and requires an appropriate response from the governments," he added.

Ms May said the British government was pressing for rapid installation of the new security fencing at Coquelles.

The French government said it would be temporarily deploying two mobile units, or 120 extra police staff, in Calais "to contribute to the security of the site".

Irish Independent

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