Truckers crossing the Channel with illegal migrants hidden in or on their vehicles face the prospect of both criminal and civil action, celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman has warned.
In addition to a fine of £2,000 per person, subject to a maximum of £4,000, drivers could find themselves in front of a civil court if a stowaway is injured on their clandestine journey in to the UK.
Mr Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, said: “The government has responded pitifully to the Calais migrant crisis and they have endeavoured to place the onus of controlling the UK border squarely on the shoulders of hauliers, and, in particular, drivers.
“The provision of some extra fencing and some sniffer dogs does not begin to touch the problem, whereas soldiers and guard dogs might!”
He added: “The government should be working in conjunction with the haulage industry, and drivers should not be penalised for owning up to carrying clandestine migrants. Instead, they should be incentivised to declare their find.
“And the government’s guidelines to hauliers could have been written by a five year old. The government is paying lip service to a very serious problem, which, apart from the obvious security issues, is causing a huge financial strain on the haulage industry and the wider economy. Will the government be prepared to compensate haulage companies who cannot survive this crisis?
“Hauliers need to join forces and make joint representation to challenge the current legislation that appears to remove the role of preventing migrants entering the country from the UK Border Agency and places it on to the drivers of wagons, coaches and even cars.
“The government must grasp this thorny issue and prevaricate no more.”