New crackdown on illegal immigrants by P&O

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The Independent Online

P&O Stena Line, Britain's largest ferry company, is to begin checking every Dover-bound lorry in the biggest crackdown on illegal immigrants.

P&O Stena Line, Britain's largest ferry company, is to begin checking every Dover-bound lorry in the biggest crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The company has hired the 40 security guards at a cost of £500,000 to work round the clock at Calais from Wednesday, checking around 750,000 lorries that use its ferries each year.

The company said that drivers who refuse the screening will not be allowed to travel.

Any suspected illegal immigrant found by the guards, who work for French security company Secur-Nord, will be handed over to the French authorities.

All lorries will be checked by guards using a carbon dioxide gas detector which can trace human breath inside the vehicles.

The company's operations director Tony Marsh said they hoped the plan would seriously reduce the number of immigrants coming over, with the aim of reducing totals to zero.

Hauliers and ferry companies are liable for a hefty fine of £2,000 for each illegal immigrant found

P&O Stena Line has paid £100,000 in fines in the last eight months and more than 300 penalty cases against freight companies are going through the courts.

The company said it was responding to the concerns of hauliers over the security of their vehicles prior to embarkation at Calais.

Geoff Dossetter, of the Freight Transport Association, welcomed the move, saying it was "quite clearly" a step forward and a very positive one.

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