Hauliers face bigger fines for bringing refugees into Britain

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, has introduced changes to immigration legislation to double the fines imposed on lorry companies that bring illegal immigrants into Britain.

The Government had been forced to drop a previous scheme that imposed fines of £2,000 per clandestine passenger after a judge ruled that the system was unlawful.

Mr Blunkett was furious at the legal defeat and has introduced a new system, in an amendment to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, which will allow for fines on a sliding scale of up to £4,000 per stowaway.

The Home Office believes the legislation will be acceptable to the courts because it is more flexible and allows a right of appeal to a county court.

Hauliers had challenged the original system, introduced by the former home secretary Jack Straw, claiming that it breached their right to a fair trial. Companies said that lorry drivers were often unaware that stowaways had boarded their vehicles.

The new system, one of a series of amendments to the Bill due to be discussed in Parliament today, allows for the confiscation of lorries from companies that do not pay the fines. In the past, some foreign hauliers have refused to pay the penalties.

Under the new arrangements, officials would be able to seize vehicles arriving at British ports from haulage companies with outstanding immigration fines.

Other amendments being discussed include an attempt by backbench MPs to block plans to educate some asylum-seekers' children in accommodation centres.

Meanwhile the hunt was continuing last night for a group of asylum-seekers who jumped off a train from France. About 30 people were seen breaking out of a sealed container wagon when the train arrived at Battersea in south London, British Transport Police said. Fourteen were caught and passed to the immigration service. The Wembley-bound train had come through the tunnel from France, where the freight operator EWS believed they had stowed aboard.

A spokesman said: "At around 11am yesterday one driver, who was heading to Wembley, where we have a freight yard, saw an asylum-seeker poking his head out of a container. The train was going to be met at Wembley by Metropolitan and British Transport Police, but at Battersea, a group of asylum-seekers jumped off.

"The people inside used chisels or hammers, or another form of instrument, to break the lock and get out."

The latest incident came after promises from the French authorities two weeks ago that security at the Frethun yard near Calais would be stepped up.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Psychology Teacher

Main Teacher Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: Teacher of Psychology An en...

International Promotions Manager - Consumer Products

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: A global entertainment busi...

Data Warehouse & Business Intelligence Co-ordinator

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: This new opportunity has responsibilities des...

Geography Teacher

£19200 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?