A young Sudanese asylum seeker was crushed to death by a lorry early today after migrants attempted to enter the Channel Tunnel as the crisis in Calais continued.
Police said that up to 1,500 attempts had been made to break through the security fence surrounding the sprawling terminal.
The latest incident follows reports that at least 2,200 acts of trespass were recorded at the terminal on the night of Monday to Tuesday. Police sources rejected, however, suggestions of a “mass storming” of the site.
They said that both on Monday night and in the early hours of today there had been repeated breaches of the security fence by groups of around 50 migrants at a time. The total trespass figure on both nights included people who had tried to enter the terminal several times.
Incidents at the freight terminal, which sprawls over 2,700 acres, are at their worst for several years, a police source said. “But this is a question of repeated attempts by small groups who are arrested or forced back. It is wrong to say that there was ever a mass break-in by 2,000 people at one time.”
A French spokeswoman for Eurotunnel this morning confirmed one migrant had died "after 1,500 tried to storm the Eurotunnel."
According to French media, the Sudanese man, aged between 25 and 30, is the ninth person to be killed at the tunnel since the start of June.
His body was found at around 6am today when dawn broke. Police said that he appeared to have been crushed by a truck as he tried to climb over a shuttle.
The French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who was in London on Monday to discuss the Calais crisis with the Home Secretary Theresa May, blamed Eurotunnel for the abrupt surge of problems at the freight terminal. In a letter to the president of the company, he said that the number of private security guards at the terminal had been cut in three since 2002.
“I would like you to reconsider urgently the human resources that you devote to the security of this site,” he said.
Prime Minister David Cameron has described the situation as "very concerning" while the Ms May was due to chair an emergency Cobra meeting on Wednesday morning.
The Government has agreed an extra £7 million to help improve security at Calais and the Channel Tunnel
Speaking during his visit to Singapore, Mr Cameron said: "We are doing everything that we can. The Home Secretary will be chairing a ministerial Cobra meeting this morning to make sure that everything that can be done, working with the French, is being done.
"I have every sympathy with holidaymakers who are finding access to Calais difficult because of the disturbances there and we will do everything we can to work with the French to bring these things to a conclusion.
"But it is not a satisfactory situation.
"There's no point trying to point fingers of blame, it's about working with the French, putting in place these additional security measures, adding in the investment where that's needed – Britain will always come forward with that, we know how important it is and the Home Secretary will be co-ordinating this this morning at the meeting of the Cobra committee."
Eurotunnel, which operates services through the Channel Tunnel, has said the nightly breaches appear to be too much for the Government to handle.
It announced on Wednesday that more than 37,000 attempts to cross the Channel Tunnel had been blocked since January.
Additional reporting by PA
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies