Another group of up to 100 illegal immigrants has been caught trying to get into Britain through the Channel Tunnel, Eurotunnel said today.
Passenger services through the tunnel were delayed for several hours and freight services were suspended overnight after the group was caught inside the Eurotunnel compound at Coquelle, north of Calais, at around 9.45pm last night, a spokeswoman for the company said.
The attempt came as a newspaper report claimed Home Secretary David Blunkett had asked the French government to shut down the nearby Red Cross camp at Sangatte, where it is believed the group was from.
Forty-four Afghans were found trying to walk through the tunnel on Wednesday.
They had come from the camp at Sangatte, which is just half a mile from the tunnel entrance, as did the 80 illegal immigrants who tried to break into the Eurotunnel compound on Thursday.
The Sunday Telegraph today reported that Mr Blunkett told the French interior minister Daniel Vaillant in a telephone call that the camp “was not helping” Britain combat the problem of illegal immigration.
Eurotunnel, which operates the tunnel and which faces the threat of sizeable fines for every illegal immigrant who gets through, has begun legal action in the French courts in an attempt to force Sangatte’s closure.
Sangatte holds up to 700 refugees, mostly Kurds from Iraq, and Afghans.
A Home Office spokesman would not confirm that Mr Blunkett had asked for Sangatte to be closed.
The spokesman said only: “The Home Secretary has discussed very recently with the French interior minister the issue of Sangatte and migration.