Dudley truck driver fined £12000 over Calais stowaways

A DUDLEY truck driver has been slapped with a GBP12,000 fine from border authorities after he discovered 20 stowaways in his truck in Calais. Dave Edmunds, aged 47 from Russells Hall[1], received the fine in February, over two years after he discovered the migrants in his HGV. The 19 men and one woman are believed to have entered the truck at around 5am on September 21 2016 while Mr Edmunds was sleeping in a lay-by just outside the Calais port on his journey from the south of France transporting bread dough to the UK.

Mr Edmunds says there was no way of telling anybody had entered the van as the lock had been tampered with but disguised with grease to make it appear it had been untouched. The lifelong truck driver only realised there were people in his truck when he heard movement, and then he immediately alerted dog handlers at the port. Mr Edmunds received a letter from the Border Force in February notifying him of the fine, and he says he is now appealing the decision.

He said: “I thought it was over and done with. Any evidence or letters I had I haven’t got anymore.” “I can’t pay it, I’m fighting to survive now as I’m paying my debts off.”

Mr Edmunds still works as a HGV driver but no longer drives from Europe to the UK as he says the danger posed by people trying enter the UK via trucks is too great. He added: “It’s like running into a war zone.” Mr Edmunds also blasted the British border authorities for penalising drivers.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “It is in all our interests to combat attempts to enter the UK illegally, which can damage the haulage industry financially and place the safety of drivers at risk. We work closely with the French to bolster port security and the civil penalty regime supports those efforts. “A penalty is only imposed when a driver or company fails to have an effective system to protect their vehicles and anyone issued with a fine has the chance to lodge an objection.

“Border Force provides advice online for haulage companies around vehicle security and, to help avoid penalties, companies can also apply for Border Force Accreditation.”

The Home Office said Mr Mr Edmunds was notified of his potential liability to a penalty at the time of the incident and the delay in receiving notice of the fine was due to ‘substantial restructure’ of the Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Team.

References

  1. ^ Russells Hall (www.dudleynews.co.uk)

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