Truckers fears over fines for stowaways

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The Independent Online

Hauliers' help in dealing with illegal stowaways could dwindle because of a change in the law, freight transport leaders warned today.

From April 3, truck operators and drivers are to be fined £2,000 for every illegal immigrant stowaway found on their vehicles.

The Freight Transport Association now fears that the present co-operation of drivers with police and immigration authorities will diminish as the fines come into force.

"From April 3, entirely innocent drivers finding stowaways on board when they reach the UK are to be subject to brutal fines," said FTA external affairs head Geoff Dossetter.

He went on: "This is equivalent to finding a burglar in your house, calling the police and then finding that it is you who is arrested."

Mr Dossetter said that in the past drivers finding stowaways have reported or delivered them to the authorities.

He added: "It must be likely that, in future, drivers will turn stowaways out on the roadside and they will simply vanish into the countryside. These fines are likely to make an already difficult situation worse."