Serpent's Egg

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So-called improved security at Calais Eurostar station as police fear migrants will continue going onto tracks

SNCF Réseau, France’s national rail infrastructure operator, started cutting down trees and shrubs to stop migrants hiding and seeking to stop and climb onto Eurostar trains

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The new fence next to the Eurotunnel track in Calais Photo: Steve Finn/The Telegraph

French rail workers started clearing thick foliage on Thursday from around the Calais Eurostar stop where 150 migrants stormed a Paris-London train, as police said they feared more attempts “in the coming days and on a “regularly basis”.

The work of British passengers were trapped overnight on Tuesday in the Eurostar, much of it in the dark with no electricity or air conditioning, at Calais Fréthun station – the last stop before the Channel Tunnel.

Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, conceded on Wednesday that the station and track around it was a “weak link” in otherwise improved security around the Channel Tunnel.

Workers for SNCF Réseau, France's national rail infrastructure operator, cutting down trees and shrubs to stop migrants hiding and seeking before attempting to climb onto Eurostar trainsWorkers for SNCF Réseau, France’s national rail infrastructure operator, cutting down trees and shrubs to stop migrants hiding and seeking before attempting to climb onto Eurostar trains  Photo: Steve Finn/The Telegraph

SNCF Réseau, the national rail infrastructure operator, began work to clear trees and thick scrub from 37 hectares around the station by the end of next month, with the aim of making it harder for migrants to hide and easier for the police to spot any approaching the station or surrounding tracks.

They will also erect 7.5 miles of high security fencing “identical to that used in the port of Calais”, and said they have created a new unit to “repair damaged fencing”. Currently, even a child could scale the low barriers by the track 100 yards from Calais-Frethun station.

http://s3.eip.telegraph.co.uk/breakoutCards/5ba655be-669f-40ba-ad1e-319be03e7698.html

Despite the measures, security sources warned Le Figaro newspaper that they feared more attempts to stop passenger trains “in the coming days” and that the problem could occur on a “regular basis”.

One rail source called the entire exercise a “waste of time”, saying that the high fences were no problem for the migrants. “They simply get out their cutters and make holes and we come back every day and repair them,” he said.

A migrant walking along next to the Eurotunnel trackA migrant walking along next to the Eurotunnel track  Photo: Steve Finn/The Telegraph

The Telegraph observed one migrant wandering inside the Eurotunnel site on Thursday untroubled by rail workers as they cleared shrubs.

Manuel Valls, the French prime minister declared on Monday: “Today the Franco-UK borders are fully under control. To come to Calais is to throw yourself into a dead end.”

However, Gilles Debove of police union Unité SGP-Police FO in Calais told the Telegraph: “The problem will persist even if Britain paid for fences all the way from Calais to Lille” as they would simply “further back down the line”.

Workers for SNCF Réseau, France's national rail infrastructure operator, cutting down trees and shrubs to stop migrants hiding and seeking before attempting to climb onto Eurostar trainsWorkers for SNCF Réseau, France’s national rail infrastructure operator, cutting down trees and shrubs to stop migrants hiding and seeking before attempting to climb onto Eurostar trains  Photo: Steve Finn/The Telegraph

He said the only way to dissuade more from coming was by pressing charges against those who trespass on the tracks. In theory they face a maximum six-month prison sentence and a €3,750 (£2,740) for doing so, but in reality almost always all are simply “reminded of the law and released”, said Mr Debove.

The UK pumped £7 million into security at the Channel Tunnel in the wake of mass migrant break-ins over the summer. On Thursday, new high fencing was being erected along the track yards from the Channel Tunnel entrance.

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2015 by and tagged , , , .

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