Migrants found hiding in London school coach after France trip

By Jamie Roberton: ITV News

Two migrants have been found hiding in a coach bringing London schoolchildren back from a trip to France.

Year 6 pupils from Cubitt Town Junior School were arriving back at their school in Tower Hamlets on Monday evening when two men emerged from the luggage compartment as it reversed up to the school gates.

The pupils had just returned from a two-day trip to France and had travelled home through Calais.

The men, aged 27 and 23, who are thought to be from Sudan, had been detained and handed over to the UK's Border Agency, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed to ITV News.

Parents have spoken of their shock at the incident. Credit: ITV News/Louise Barnes

The two men had briefly escaped from the scene but officers soon located them nearby, the spokesperson added.

Tower Hamlets Council said the stowaways made no direct contact with the children on board.

Louise Barnes, whose eldest daughter Marnie was on the coach, told ITV News of the moment she and other parents discovered the two men.

"As me and a few other parents went to pick the suitcases off the coach we saw two men covered in dirt sitting down," she said.

"There was panic initially but we made all the children stay together and our headmistress called the police."

Police officers attend to the two men. Credit: ITV News/Louise Barnes

She said teachers were "totally shocked" and pupils were asking numerous questions about the two men.

"I was so shocked because it's only something you ever see on the news, and you don't expect it to happen on your child's coach."

The incident came a day before footage emerged showing migrants trying to board UK-bound lorries in Calais amid strike action by ferry workers.

"Watching the news today made me realise how pleased I was she came back yesterday," Ms Barnes said.

"I'm angry, I just thought 'what if', but Marnie is safe and she had a good time."

Cubitt Town Junior School in Tower Hamlets. Credit: Google Maps

In a statement, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said:

A Tower Hamlets council spokesperson said: A bus carrying pupils from Cubitt Town Primary School unwittingly carried two stowaways underneath the coach on a return trip from France yesterday.

"When school staff were made aware of the stowaways’ presence, they immediately contacted the police who were quick to arrive and deal with the issue.

“The stowaways travelled below the vehicle and had no direct contact with the children on board. School staff acted professionally throughout and continue to be committed to keeping their pupils safe from danger.”