Refugees told to pose as ferry workers to get into UK, ITV News investigation finds

Refugees and migrants are being told they can pose as ferry workers to be smuggled into Britain, an ITV News investigation has discovered.

An undercover reporter posing as an Afghan refugee was told that by wearing a waiter’s uniform he could illegally enter the UK without detection.

During one exchange, secretly recorded by our reporter, a smuggler offered him three methods to get from Belgium to Britain.

“One is sending people by containers which costs £1,500 and there is no guarantee,” he said.

“The second way is sending people by big ships (ferries) which costs £6,000. We give them waiters’ clothes then we take them to Hull and then it is up to them where they want to go.”

“The third way is on the speed boats (for) which we charge £8,000 and it’s guaranteed… There is an island, we’ll drop you there.”

Belgian prosecutors said they would consider our evidence of new smuggling routes into the UK, but said they were already finding it difficult to deal with a 1000% increase in the number of cases over the last year.

Restrictions in Calais have added to pressure at Belgian ports.

"As a police officer I have to say the situation is serious," Bruges prosecutor, Frank Demeester, said.

"There is certainly an increase in persons who want to go to the United Kingdom - that’s the challenge [for] the police."

Belgian prosecutors say there has been an increase in the number wanting to get to the UK. Credit: ITV News

He added:

[The smugglers] are certainly ahead of us… We will try to cope with it but I think the international situation will not be solved in one or two years – so we’re looking at a difficult year [in 2016]. We have never heard about people working as staff, or getting over as staff but it is certainly a possibility… I think when you use that kind of modus it has to be very organised. There would have to be lot of people involved who are aware of the fact that these kinds of methods are being used.

Kurt DeSoete, Belgian federal police

Earlier today, Belgian detectives said that they had smashed a ring that smuggled thousands of migrants into Britain, with 12 suspects arrested in the case.

A group of Iraqi Kurds is accused of charging migrants 2,000 euros to hide in lorries heading to England.