Eritrean migrants caught attempting to sneak into the UK

A group of 18 Eritrean migrants have been caught trying to enter the UK in the back of a truck on 13 March 2019. The migrants were found in a German truck on a Kent motorway during a routine check.

Police in Kent were notified on the morning of 13 March 2019 “to concerns that a number of people were in the trailer of a lorry travelling on the London bound M26.”

“Eighteen people, 11 men, six women and a minor, who presented themselves as Eritrean, were referred to the Home Office. The minor encountered at the scene has been passed to the care of social services,” said a spokesperson for the Border Force. “All cases will be progressed in line with the UK immigration rules.”

Other cases of Eritrean migrants being caught while attempting to enter the UK illegally have been recorded this year.

In January, a group of 27 migrants from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia were caught attempting to enter the UK in the back of a truck. Staffordshire police said the vehicle was stopped near Stoke-on-Trent “after reports were received that lives may have been at risk.”

“We were acting on information where there was real concern for people in distress and therefore it was necessary for us to take immediate and appropriate action,” said Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker. “The driver of the vehicle, a 42-year-old man of no fixed address, was arrested on suspicion of facilitating the illegal entry of persons unknown to the UK.”

People smuggling in to the UK carries heavy penalties and imprisonment. In March 2019, a lorry driver from the UK was fined GBP 12,000 after 20 migrants sneaked on board his truck. In February 2019, six people in an organised crime group received a total of 27 years in jail for smuggling four Vietnamese migrants to the UK on a boat. And in September 2018, a group of seven people smugglers were sentenced to prison for a total of 48 years for attempting to sneak migrants across the English Channel.

Under the Dublin regulation, where migrants are required to apply for asylum in the first EU country they reach, the majority of migrants who make it to the UK are likely to be returned to France.

France will take back migrants whose biometric data had been filed in any EU country. The EU wide biometric data system known as Eurodac helps immigration authorities determine if the migrant had already applied for asylum in an EU country or had illegally transited through other EU countries.

Migrants who crossed the Channel in small boats from France to the UK in 2018 have been returned since January 2019. This was done in response to increased migrant smuggling activity across the English Channel.

TMP – 25/03/2019

Photo: Paul J Martin / Shutterstock. Lorries queue at the Port of Dover

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