THE CHANNEL Tunnel has been shut and services through it suspended after migrants caused chaos in Calais by attempting to board UK-bound trucks.
Eurotunnel’s through-tunnel shuttle services were suspended, while high-speed train company Eurostar announced mid-afternoon that services were being cancelled for the rest of the day.
Three trains stuck outside the tunnel on the English side had to return to St Pancras in London while other trains on the French side were taken back to Paris and Brussels.
Eurostar advised passengers not to go to stations.
The trouble began as migrants tried to exploit wildcat strike action by French ferry workers.
Lorry drivers forced to slow or stop due to queuing traffic on approaches to the northern French port were faced with migrants attempting to clamber on board.
Migrants were seen walking by the sides of motorways looking for opportunities to jump on to lorries heading to the port bound for Dover.
More problems ensued as French ferry workers striking over fears they will lose their jobs next month then trespassed on to Eurotunnel tracks, forcing services to be aborted.
Eurostar said: “They have broken into the tunnel and the tunnel is shut.”
Yesterday’s problems come amid a worsening migrant situation near the Port of Calais where numbers camped there have swelled to more than 3,000 since April. Aid workers have reported a “catastrophic” situation, with predictions that some 2,000 more migrants displaced from war-torn countries including Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan could arrive over the summer.
British haulier Chris Cary spoke of how he has been stuck in Calais for seven hours, and told of the brazen attempts by migrants to try to get on to lorries bound for the UK.
He told a television news channel said: “It is a bit of a mess. I have been here since 3am. The industrial action started about 4:45am.
“I shot off down to the train thinking I would get the train, and I couldn’t get on the train, so I’ve come back to the boat and I’ve been here seven hours so far.
“When I was down at the train, [migrants] were trying your doors to get in the cab, trying to sneak under the axles on the trailers, trying to cut the locks and seals on the back of the trailers, even trying to climb on the roof of the trailers. Any way they were trying to get in to get to England. This morning was the worst I had ever seen it because there was no police presence.”
A Port of Dover spokesman said: “Due to a period of industrial action in France commencing at 0350 BST on 23 June, the Port of Calais continues to remain closed.
“All ferry services to and from the Port of Dover to Calais remain affected, with DFDS Seaways running a shuttle service to Dunkirk.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice on France, urging people to keep vehicle doors locked in slow-moving traffic and when unattended in Calais.
It said: “There are large numbers of illegal migrants in and around Calais, who may seek to enter the UK illegally.