HUNDREDS of British-bound migrants have returned to secret camps in Calais just months after the notorious “Jungle” was demolished.
Despite 10,000 being dispersed from the port those desperate for a new life in the UK have already drifted back in the hope of finding a new way to cross the Channel.The emergence of at least six rural settlements in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region has raised fears of a fresh border crisis.
Officials thought the mayhem of the past two years had finally ended in October when the Jungle camp was bulldozed.
But yesterday there was evidence of a new wave making their way to the northern France as criminal gangs continue to operate with impunity. Dozens of service stations on motorways leading to the port and Eurotunnel terminals are the new frontline in the fight against people smuggling with lorry drivers describing them as “no-go areas” after dark.British trucker Graham Gammond, 65, from Hereford, said: “The problem is now moving further away from Calais.
“It’s a daily risk and I dare not stop near the port because it’s so dangerous. Service stations are the perfect place for people smugglers. The situation has become unreal.”
The Daily Express team in the area was attacked by a mob of angry migrants after finding one of the hidden camps yesterday.Around 100 are huddled in a muddy shantytown in woods close to the village of Norrent-Fontes, around 30 miles south east of Calais.
Although the camp has existed for a while numbers inside are swelling because refugees have started to leave reception centres where they were taken after the Jungle was razed.
They said they wanted to claim asylum and were being helped in their efforts to live rough by a British man.
The blaze of publicity surrounding the dismantling of the Jungle means refugees are making every effort to avoid detection.
Experts now fear camps like this will “mushroom” across the northern French countryside.
Their squalid settlement is a short walk to the Saint Hilaire Cottes services on the A26 motorway to Calais which has become a magnet for trafficking gangs.
Yesterday amid a visible police presence truckers told how migrants made nightly attempts to break into their vehicles. One said he found six stowaways inside his trailer on Sunday describing the rest area on the Autoroute des Anglais as the “perfect place” to launch a bid for Britain.A source close to the crisis said: “There are rumours of smaller camps mushrooming all the time but this is to be expected because migrants are still arriving and heading for Calais. However, the authorities there are playing the Three Monkeys game – see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.”
Tory MP Charlie Elphicke said: “Getting the Calais Jungle dismantled was a huge victory in the war against evil people traffickers.
“The number of people trying to break into Britain through Dover has plummeted and the people of Calais have got their town back.
“Yet the threat of illegal immigration remains. This is why we must be more vigilant than ever at the border.
“It’s clear that dangerous and violent criminal gangs are still actively working to traffick people. That’s why the French must keep up the police presence to stop new camps forming. “We must stop any new camps from forming before the first tent is pitched.”
Earlier we revealed the number of people caught trying to sneak into the UK in 2015 was 84,088 the equivalent to one every six minutes. The number seized – nearly 10 an hour – was more than double those caught the year before. The figures relate to the period when Prime Minister Theresa May was Home Secretary.The Home Office has failed to respond to a Freedom of Information request submitted by this newspaper demanding to know what the figure was last year, the latest available.
The Home Office said: “The UK and France worked extremely closely to coordinate the successful clearance of the main camp in Calais and ensure those in need of protection were moved to suitable facilities.
“The French Government is alive to the threat of new camps appearing in Northern France and both countries are clear that we must continue to fight together against the callous criminals that coordinate people smuggling.”
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