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  1. ITV Report

Haulier: Calais crisis is costing us tens of thousands

Lorries parked as part of Operation Stack along the M20 in Ashford, Kent, as Channel crossings are disrupted by migrant activity in Calais. Photo: Press Association

The owner of a Lincoln based haulage company says the current problems with migrants in Calais could end up costing his business tens of thousands of pounds once the company reviews its figures at the end of this month.

Peter Denby, Managing Director of Denby Transport of Lincoln, is having to re-route all of his 30 lorries to alternative sea ports to avoid the huge delays and for driver safety.

Hundreds of migrants at a time are trying to break into trucks at the Eurotunnel terminal every night Credit: Press Association

But crossing as sea freight is costing the company at least double what it would pay to use the Eurotunnel. Peter says migrants have been a problem in Calais for years but never so acutely as in the past four weeks. Peter also says one of his drivers had two knives held to his throat a few years ago at Calais after he witnessed migrants climbing aboard a lorry in front to try and prevent him from reporting what he'd seen.

I think we have had a few drivers threatened with knives which is pretty serious but none where they were actually used so it's a concern

– Peter Denby

The Prime Minister has insisted Calais is safe and secure despite a "swarm" of migrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean and come to Britain.

David Cameron told ITV News migrants were "seeking a better life" because we have "jobs, a growing economy and it's an incredible place to live".

French National Gendarmerie on guard around the perimeter security fencing of the Eurotunnel site at Coquelles in Calais, France. Credit: Press Association

Those trying to make it to Britain say they see it as their "last chance" at a better life. Thousands of migrants have attempted to storm the Channel Tunnel this week and nine people have died trying to make the crossing in the past month.

Last night, the Government confirmed that lorry drivers will be allowed to drive for longer stretches of time with a shorter beak between shifts during the Calais delays. EU rules which specify drivers can only drive nine hours a day will temporarily be relaxed so drivers can drive for 11 hours as they contend with delays caused by the crisis.

However, driver Glynn Cawthorne believes that using other ports could be a solution:

I don't mind if I don't see Calais ever again to be honest with you there's other ferry ports we can use and i think that's best off. The problem is if you stop, what happens to the immigrants is they just move on to somewhere else.

– Glynn Cawthorne, Lorry driver
Peter Denby (left), thinks the delays will cost his business thousands in lost revenue Credit: ITV News

Groupe Eurotunnel, which manages and operates the Channel Tunnel, has invested more than 160 million euro (£113m) including 13 million euro (£9.2 million) in physical resources - fences, cameras, infra-red detectors - and personnel this year.

Home Secretary Theresa May has said that the UK Government will spend up to £7m on improving security around the entrance to the Eurotunnel. She called for rapid installation of new security fencing and improved security at Coquelles to keep people out of the tunnel.

The UK is also working with the French to return migrants to their own countries and deal with criminal gangs who are profiting from them.