A husband and wife from Kent have warned others not to travel through Calais after their car was recently set upon by around 40 migrants wearing hoodies and with their faces covered. The migrants banged on the car, leaving the couple shaken, but border force officers refused to take action.
Paul and Lisa Burton, landlord and lady of the George Inn in Newnham, Kent, often take elderly customers on a day trip to Ypres, but have vowed not to do so anymore following the attack on their vehicle.
The incident occurred on the main road a mile from the port of Calais, close to the Jungle migrant camp, which is home to around 9,000 migrants – all trying to get into the UK. The camp is due for demolition in the next few weeks.
Speaking to KentOnline, Mr. Burton recounted: “We take our staff and friends on a day trip across the Channel, to Bruges or Belgium or France, often a few times a year.
“It was a great day out until we started our return journey to Calais.
“We were about a mile from the port at about 9pm and the road was suddenly blocked by a load of people with hoods and covered faces. I have no doubt that they were refugees.
“They were banging on the windows, hitting the car and trying to get in, shouting and screaming at us.
“Lisa was driving and she was blowing on her horn and driving slowly through, but who knows what would have happened if she had stopped.”
When Mr. Burton approached French Border Control to report the incident, they shrugged it off, saying that such incidents were not uncommon. They said that many go unreported and that a coach recently had all its windows smashed out.
“Obviously it would be different if something like this happened here, someone would be arrested, but we have decided not to take it any further because it was on French soil and we are not sure what police would do anyway,” Mr. Burton added.
“The situation in Calais is clearly completely out of control.
“We often go over to France on the ferry, two or three times a year, and we know a lot of others who do the same, but now we have seen what can happen on the other side, we will think twice before going back, and we hope others do too.”
Mrs. Burton added that she had been terrified by the events, and has vowed not to return to France again until the situation is remedied.
“We all just gasped as soon as we saw the group and some of the older ones in the car were really upset as it was terrifying,” she said.
“I don’t know what they thought they could achieve by acting in this way. They are desperate, I know, and maybe angry that we could get to England so easy and they couldn’t but why did they think that by attacking and scaring us, this could help them?
“We won’t be returning until we know we are safe to travel around Calais and we want people to be aware of the situation. Imagine if we had children in the car?
“The ferry may be cheap at £19 a crossing, but it’s not worth it when you are at risk of this.”
The incident is merely the latest in a string of attacks on vehicles passing through Calais. Locals have been warning each other to avoid certain roads after migrants amused themselves by smashing up vehicles waiting in traffic, while truck drivers have repeatedly warned of the danger they face from migrants attempting to board their lorries.
On Sunday an Eritrean man was killed while attempting to block the A16 road near Calais in order to slow traffic. The British driver reported the incident.