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Illegal immigrant crisis: French police have caught 18,170 trying to enter UK this year; The figure is double that for the whole of last year, with most of the migrants found stowed on lorries boarding ferries and Channel Tunnel trains.

Byline: Ian Sparks

French border police have caught 18,170 illegal immigrants trying to sneak into the UK so far this year, it emerged yesterday.

The figure is more than double that for the whole of 2014 -- and four times more than 2013, a report said.

Most migrants were found stowed aboard lorries boarding Channel Tunnel shuttle trains in Coquelles and ferries at Calais, police said.

Police said their frontier forces in northern France are now under huge strain, as are refugee aid groups.

Johann Cavallero, police union spokesman for Calais, said: "We know how many we catch but we do not know how many we don't."

The figures took into account the fact that the same migrants were often arrested trying to cross the Channel three times in the same day.

"We catch a migrant in a lorry, and turn him back. Then half an hour later we can catch the same man again," he added.

The report came as riot police evicted around 500 UK-bound migrants from a refugee camp in the Paris district of La Chapelle, close to the Eurostar terminal.

Heavily armed officers their destroyed makeshift shacks at 6.30am today and loaded the illegal immigrants on buses bound for transit centres outside the city.

The migrants had set up camp in the Paris district of La Chapelle a month ago, with many hoping to sneak aboard Eurostar trains to London from the nearby Gare du Nord train station.

Many had reached the French capital after perilous journeys on traffickers' boats from Libya - in which hundreds have drowned in recent weeks.

But local residents and health officials had complained that the squalid encampment was a disease risk and was also attracting rats and foxes to the area.

A Paris police official said: "There was very little resistance.

"These people have now been taken to proper sheltered accommodation outside of the city."

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart claims the UK caused the crisis by providing cushy benefits and not controlling the economy.

She said the UK should be forced to abandon border checks for travellers arriving from Europe to help move the migrants away.

Ms Bouchart said: "They want to go to England because they can expect better conditions on arrival there than anywhere else in Europe or even internationally.

"There are no ID cards. They can easily find work outside the formal economy, which is not really controlled.

"Calais is a hostage to the British. The migrants come here to get to Britain.

"The situation here is barely manageable. The UK border should be moved from Calais to the English side of the Channel because we're not here to do their jobs."

Should Britain take some of the rescued Med migrants?

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:News,UK News
Author:Ian Sparks
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 2, 2015
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