FRENCH border guards are “colluding” with people traffickers smuggling migrants through northern France and into Britain, an MEP has told Theresa May in an explosive letter.
UKIP’s Mike Hookem says he is convinced that some officers within the French border force “cannot be relied on” to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the channel.
The senior European politician is so concerned by what he has seen that he has urged the Home Secretary to urgently investigate claims of “collusion” between border officials and migrant smugglers.
He also revealed that a senior police chief told him there are just 60 officers dedicated to investigating illegal immigration across his entire prefecture, which covers some 20,000 square miles between France’s northern coast and Paris.
The top officer admitted the gaping holes in his force’s coverage mean that “five to six people get through to Britain every night”, with many slipping through in vehicles with UK registration plates, according to Mr Hookem.
Express.co.uk has seen a letter written by the Yorkshire MEP to Mrs May urging her to bring up the issue of potential corruption within the French border force with her counterpart in Paris.
In the letter, also addressed to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, he writes: “It seems we cannot rely on certain members of French port security to either look after our drivers should they see anything or protect them.
“I believe this is something the Home Secretary should be bringing up with her French counterpart.”
Mr Hookem told the Home Secretary that a member of his team had seen a French border guard chatting to an apparent people smuggler just moments after “about half a dozen” migrants broke through fencing in the port town of Dieppe.
He also claimed that French border police are ignoring warning alerts telling them when migrants have broken through state-of-the-art fencing, paid for by Britain, which is equipped with motion sensors.
He wrote: “On my tour of the Port of Calais we were shown the double layers of fencing with infra red sensors between to detect movement.
“Subsequently, I have seen footage of migrants cutting their way through both fences with no attempts made to stop them, leading me to believe that either the infra red sensors are not working or that a blind eye is being taken by the French authorities.
“The latter would not surprise me in the least. On a night-time visit to the port at Dieppe my team and I witnessed a group of migrants, led we suspect by a people trafficker, crossing over the fence to reach the area where the lorries rested once they had cleared security.
“They were of Algerian origin – I can say this with confidence because the ringleader confronted a member of my team to ask what she was doing there and told her he was Algerian trying to get to the UK.
“Naturally I informed port security and instead of dealing with the migrants we were threatened with an Alsatian dog and told we must leave the area. The security guard on duty was witnessed chatting to the gang’s ring leader.”
Asked whether he thought Britain could still trust the French police, Mr Hookem told Express.co.uk: “Some of the authorities aren’t looking very hard. You’d have to draw from that that there’s some collusion going on.”
The revelations come just days after thousands of armed migrants went on the rampage in Calais in an “unprecedented” mass bid to reach Britain.
Shocking pictures emerged of one migrant attacking a lorry driver with a hammer, whilst locals told people to stay in doors whilst asylum-seekers “armed with iron bars” marauded through the town.
Last month Express.co.uk highlighted the plight of helpless truckers by reporting on the case of driver Norman Garrett, who was hounded through the courts and was told he faced five years in jail all for buying a self-defence stun-gun out of fear for his life.
And Mr Hookem said situation is becoming “unsustainable” for truckers, who face shelling out thousands of pounds in fines if they are caught with stowaways on board.
He said: “The Government has ‘passed the buck’ and placed the onus of responsibility for deterring clandestines onto the drivers and the companies.
“This is unfair, given the drivers for inward migration to Great Britain is thanks to the draw of a generous benefits system and the Schengen Agreement which allows people to make their way from Southern Europe to France.
“It is a situation which must be addressed at the first available opportunity, and not simply by sniffer dogs and fences. This is unsustainable.”
Most live in the crime-ridden Jungle Camp next to the town’s main port, which is run by criminal gangs of people smugglers who charge thousands of pounds for passage to Britain.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Home Office for comment.