Suspected illegal immigrants found hiding in Southampton school coach after returning from France

A suspected illegal immigrant found inside a school coach which had returned from France. Credit: ITV Meridian

A teenage girl has described her shock after returning from a school trip to France and discovering suspected illegal immigrants hiding in the coach on which they were travelling.

Year 9 student Scarlett Qiunton had travelled to an area near Calais with her fellow pupils from Hounsdown School in Totton, Southampton as part of a residential to improve their language skills.

They returned three days later, but when the driver opened the luggage section, they found someone lying inside among the cases.

Scarlett said: "We got off the bus and the compartment was opened and everyone was just trying to get their suitcases and then I see a man sat in the bottom.

"He was really calm, he was just sat staring at us and he seemed pretty comfy, and me and my friend were like, 'oh my god, there's someone in there'.

"The teacher was trying to keep it all calm and just trying to get everyone back home and obviously do her teacher stuff, but then I heard someone else in my ear say, 'oh there's two more in there'. 

"I sort of saw their legs, and then I ran over to my mum.

"It was all just a bit of a shock really."

  • Scarlett Quinton describes the moment they made the discovery.

Scarlett managed to get her suitcase before then getting in the car with her mum to head home.

She said despite the shock, she sympathises with the people found inside the coach.

"I can't really blame them," Scarlett added.

"They're probably just trying to get a better life.

"I think it is important to be respectful because obviously we don't really know their background and they could be coming from a war-torn country or something."

Pupils from Hounsdown School in Totton had returned from a school trip to France. Credit: ITV Meridian

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: "We were called just before 5.15pm on Saturday 10 February to reports that two people, who were possibly illegal immigrants, had been found at Hounsdown School in Totton.

"Officers have attended.

"No arrests have been made."

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government works closely with law enforcement agencies to tackle illegal migration in all its forms.

“Our Illegal Migration Act will mean that people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”

A spokesperson for Hounsdown School said: "Following the Hampshire Police statement released over the weekend the school can confirm that two possible illegal immigrants were discovered hiding in the baggage compartment of a coach bringing a school trip back from France.

"Police attended promptly although there was no sense of threat to the school community in attendance.

"The two people found were treated with compassion by staff and parents throughout. Investigations into the matter rest with the Home Office, working with other agencies as required, and therefore we have no further comment to make.”

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A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “It is the responsibility of the Home Office to investigate alleged illegal migration, working with law enforcement agencies and local authorities as appropriate.

"The County Council will work with the relevant agencies as required.”