A FRENCH police union has said there were 1,700 “intrusions” by migrants breaking into the Channel Tunnel’s freight terminal overnight yesterday.
The union said 1,000 people were pushed back by a line of riot police in Calais on Sunday night into Monday morning. Around 700 were physically removed or restrained, they said. Some may have made more than one attempt during the course of the night.
The number of intrusions was the highest since Monday night last week, according to the figures, when it is claimed there were 2,000 intrusions.
Prime Minister David Cameron was urged by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to travel to Calais to witness the impact of the migrant crisis “first hand”.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Without witnessing the mayhem at Calais first hand, neither the Prime Minister, nor his advisers can fully grasp the severity of the situation.”
Lorries have repeatedly been targeted by migrants desperately trying to reach Britain.
The crisis is said to have cost the economy millions of pounds as hauliers are forced to dispose of contaminated goods and wait in lengthy queues on the M20 in Kent.
Mr Cameron is on holiday and is not due back at his desk in Downing Street until Thursday.
Figures provided by French police yesterday indicated that up to 70 per cent of migrants in Calais leave within a four-month period. Downing Street stressed it did not mean that they were all succeeding in reaching Britain.
It also emerged that some teenage migrants who have fled across the Channel to Britain are being driven by private taxi to temporary accommodation outside of Kent at a cost of up to £150.
Analysis of the most recent official figures showed that the number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Britain has risen by almost 50 per cent. The rise of 46 per cent in the year to March was the biggest like-for-like increase for at least eight years.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has chaired a meeting of the government’s Cobra contingencies committee to discuss the latest situation.
The government has been under pressure to get a handle on what has emerged as the biggest crisis since the Tories’ election victory.
A number of measures were unveiled over the weekend after plans to send extra sniffer dogs and fencing to Calais were labelled a “sticking plaster”.
Landlords who fail to remove illegal immigrants who do not have the right to live in the UK – or who do not carry out checks on their status before renting out properties – could face up to five years in jail.
The measures will be included in the upcoming Immigration Bill, with the aim of making it more difficult for migrants to live in the UK after their visas have expired or applications for asylum have been rejected.
A consultation will be held on changing rules to remove taxpayer support for more than 10,000 failed asylum seekers living in Britain with their families.
However, both policies were already being worked on before the escalation in the situation at Calais.
There were also warnings that people could be put at risk by attempting to evict illegal immigrants.