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Eurotunnel plans to improve security

Eurotunnel has announced plans to improve the level of manned security at its French terminal in a bid to tackle the predicted rise in the number of people putting their lives at risk by trying to stow away on trains bound for the UK.

The move came after the company's financial results revealed that the number of freight trains using the Eurotunnel had dropped by one-third. Jacques Gounon, chief executive of Eurotunnel, also announced that since June this year, an extra 1,000 people each month had arrived in Calais.

The drop in freight trains was due to migrants attempting to get on trains near the terminal - thousands of whom are fleeing war in the Middle East and east Africa, and living in shocking conditions on the outskirts of Calais.

He said: "We had a manageable situation until June and then the number of migrants in Calais increased incredibly every month. Now officials recognise that there are as many as 6,000, and it could well increase."

In the third quarter of this year, Eurotunnel's overall business revenue showed a three per cent year-on-year increase, at €334.4 million (£240m) - a strong marker of company growth despite encountering difficult circumstances.

Security has been stepped up at the terminal, with 18 miles of fencing set to be completed later this month, and the UK and French governments providing funding for hundreds of extra security staff and police.

Earlier this year, security around the French ferry port was improved. This led to an increase in people hiding in lorries that were queuing to get into the Eurotunnel terminal a few miles outside Calais, or jumping directly onto moving trains, in a bid to get to the UK.

Mr Gounon believes that the addition of fencing and manned security around the terminal is a "significant step". The new plan will ensure that Eurotunnel staff are better prepared for the anticipated influx of migrants around the port of Calais and going to the tunnel.

Since June, almost 16 people have died trying to get to the UK, while hundreds more have been injured. "It is very sad and each time it creates a significant emotion within our staff," Mr Gounon added.

"People do not understand the risks they are taking when they run on tracks."

Eurotunnel's proposition is hoped to prevent people from putting themselves at risk. The company will also distribute leaflets to warn migrants about the dangers of trying to get to the UK via the tunnel.

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock

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