Eurostar and P&O services resume following Calais strikes amid increase in security on both sides of the Channel

Eurostar services are running "normally" according to a spokesperson

Rose Troup Buchanan
Wednesday 24 June 2015 17:00
A Eurostar passenger : thousands have been disrupted by the strikes
A Eurostar passenger : thousands have been disrupted by the strikes

Eurostar services are returning to normal following a strike by French ferry workers that brought chaos to the port yesterday amid a step-up in border security.

A Eurostar spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that train services were “back to normal” today, although travellers were advised to allow at least 45 minutes for check in.

The first train left Paris today at 5.10 and the spokesperson confirmed that passengers stranded yesterday – some of whom were forced to stay overnight thanks to the disruption - had been able to board services.

MyFerryLink, whose workers were behind the strikes, and P&O Ferry resumed services today.

Meanwhile, the backlog from the chaos has left hundreds of freight lorries still parked along the M20 motorway as Kent Police confirmed that Operation Stack – which has remained in place overnight – would continue today.

French authorities have drafted additional police officers in an attempt to prevent a repeat of yesterday’s events.

Across the Channel UK Border forces were stepped up in Dover, with immigration minister James Brokenshire telling reporters that authorities were extensively screening arrivals.

“We'll actually be using the technology that we have with CO2 probes, and other steps as well such as dogs to detect people,” he told ITV.

Chaos erupted in the port town yesterday after striking ferry workers blocked access to the tunnel with burning tyres. Hundreds of desperate migrants then attempted to board delayed vehicles amid recriminations from both French local authorities and the British government.

James Brokenshire, UK immigration minister, labelled the situation “hugely regrettable”.

The minister told the BBC that it was “ultimately” up to the Calais authorities to “assure the security and safety” at Calais.

But Calais’s deputy mayor Philippe Mignone has laid the seeds of the problem at Britain’s door, claiming the UK should be doing more to address the migrant surge.

He claimed it was “not our responsibility.”

Speaking to reporters, Mr Mignone said that the small town “could not accept it any more,” and that the migrants “want to go to England, they are not coming to Calais, they go through Calais to get to England.”

The Eurostar spokesperson also said that the service would be “systematically searching” each truck before it leaves the French terminal.

It comes as the government announces a 90-strong taskforce to tackle organised immigration in the Mediterranean. The team will include staff from the Border Force, the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and the Crown Prosecution Service.

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