Traffic slowed as Calais migrants try to enter Channel Tunnel

4th August 2015, Comments 0 comments

Migrants in France made hundreds of attempts overnight to penetrate the Channel Tunnel to get to Britain, a police source said Tuesday, as an unidentified "anomaly" in the tunnel slowed traffic.

The migrant crisis in the northern French port of Calais has hit the headlines in the past week, with people desperate to reach Britain making attempt after attempt to breach Eurotunnel defences, some paying for it with their lives.

Last week, a Sudanese man in his 30s died, apparently crushed to death by a lorry, and at least 10 people have been killed since June trying to get to Britain where many already have family and work is perceived as easier to find.

A police source said Tuesday some 500 migrants were seen overnight next to the Channel Tunnel site near Calais, and of the 600 attempts they made to get into the site, around 400 were repelled by authorities.

Of the other 200 people, 180 were caught within the site and removed and a further 20 were arrested.

Eurotunnel, which operates the Channel Tunnel, was also inspecting a section of one of the undersea tunnels for an "anomaly" that was causing delays, the group said.

Passengers taking the vehicle shuttle from Folkestone in Britain to France were having to wait two hours before boarding, and those on the French side were delayed one hour.

It was not immediately clear whether the problem was an issue with the rail track, the presence of a migrant or another incident.

The crisis has become a cross-Channel political hot potato and has seen French police bolster their presence in Calais with 120 additional officers.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose government on Monday announced new measures to crack down on illegal immigrants, came under fire last week for comments in which he referred to "swarms" of people seeking to get into the country.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, meanwhile, has urged Britain to do more to help with the crisis.

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© 2015 AFP

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