TWO babies were among eight Afghans found suffering from hypothermia in the back of a UK-bound refrigerated “smuggler” lorry this morning.
Half of the group found in the vehicle in Calais were children, according to an investigation source.
Stock picture of the Port of Calais, where two Romanian truckers were today arrested[/caption]
Two Romanian truckers were arrested when they tried to drive on to a ferry heading to England.
It comes after 39 bodies were found in the back of a similar refrigerated lorry in the UK after it was picked up from Purfleet, Essex, on October 23.
Driver Maurice ‘Mo’ Robinson has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic humans, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.
Commenting on the new incident in northern France, an investigating source said: “The Afghans in the back of the truck were suffering from mild hypothermia.
“It would have got far worse if they had remained in place, but they were taken to hospital in Calais for immediate treatment.
“The drivers are suspected of trying to smuggle the people to England. They are both of Romanian nationality, and are now in custody, and facing charges.
“It was British border force guards who discovered the migrants, and they called the French authorities to make the arrests.”
Prosecutors in Boulogne-sur-Mer, near Calais, confirmed the arrests, and said that the temperature inside the truck was around 7C.
They said judicial police were currently working on establishing the route of the lorry.
The identities of the lorry drivers and those on board have not been released.
Calais-Dover is a regular route for people smugglers, who charge up to £10,000 a head in the back of a lorry for would-be asylum seekers.
Migrants sit on a crash barrier overlooking a truck parking lot, by the ring road leading to the harbour on March 30, 2018 in Calais[/caption]
The route is particularly popular with Afghans, who often have family and friends in the UK, and speak English.
The number of desperate attempts by migrants to get to Britain from France has been increasing steadily in recent months.
This is despite a new action plan involving the British government paying millions to try and secure France’s northern coast with technology including drones.
Many have blamed this on the approach of Brexit, suggesting that borders will become tighter once the UK leaves the EU.
The French authorities are regularly criticised for releasing those caught making illegal attempts to get to Britain.
Many are simply driven to Belgium – the country from which they entered France – and then left to return.
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Most want to make asylum claims in the UK, rather than in France, where it is much harder for foreigners to access social security benefits.
British funding for new security measures was first pledged as part of the Sandhurst agreement in 2018, when the UK agreed to pay £44.5m for detection technology.
Asylum seekers are technically obliged to claim asylum in their first safe country, but many Afghans are desperate to get to Britain.