Astonished couple find two migrant stowaways hiding under their van after returning home to Essex from trip to France – despite vehicle being checked twice by immigration officials

  • Dean Darke and wife May caught the men crawling on their driveway in Basildon
  • The migrants had boarded the van as it got to ferry port at Caen – 225 miles away
  • They stood on the couple’s driveway and waited beside the van until police came
  • It comes as more boatloads of migrants are illegally travelling to Britain everyday

An astonished couple found two illegal migrants under their van after they returned from a trip to France.

Dean Darke, 60, and wife May caught the men crawling out on their driveway in Basildon, Essex, after the journey last Wednesday.

The stowaways had boarded the van as it arrived at the port city of Caen, ahead of the Darkes’ 225-mile drive home via Portsmouth.

They got out on the couple’s driveway and waited beside the van until police came to arrest them.

It comes as boatloads of migrants are illegally travelling to Britain everyday, with 120 making it to the UK on Tuesday.

Dean Darke, 60, and wife May caught the men crawling out on their driveway in Basildon, Essex, after the journey last Wednesday

Mrs Darke’s stunned neighbours watched on as officers led them away to be questioned by immigration officials.

She said: ‘We went to France to help my sister who is moving back to Essex. We got the van and drove there and back.

‘It was checked in France and here too. I’m unsure where the two men got into the van.

‘When we got home we heard a noise and the men came from under the van. We were shocked and quite frightened.

‘But they were very placid and I told them I was calling the police and they sat down and waited for the police.’

She added: ‘It was quite scary as we didn’t know what was going to happen and whether they were going to attack us.

‘I felt some sympathy for them as they must have been hanging on under the van and they must have been quite desperate to make a journey like that.

‘But I felt angry that I’d been dragged into them doing something illegal and also felt violated that they were found on my drive outside my home where I should feel safe.’

Mrs Darke slammed port authorities in Britain and France for failing to spot them when they checked their vehicle.

Dozens more migrants – including a heavily-pregnant woman – reached Britain by small boat today, after 13 landed yesterday.

The group, who were Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, Eritrean and Sri Lankan, were picked up at 8.30am by a lifeboat off the Kent coast.

Thirteen more migrants reached Britain by small boat yesterday, with dozens more including a heavily pregnant woman landing today (pictured)

The group, who were Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, Eritrean and Sri Lankan, were picked up at 8.30am by a lifeboat off the Kent coast

The 10 men and three women were taken into Dover to be medically checked and questioned by immigration officials.

It means 3,643 migrants have made the life-risking Channel crossing this year – nearly double the 1,850 who arrived last year.

Meanwhile, a group of around 16 refugees including 10 young children landed on Dungeness beach in Kent around 8.30am today.

It is thought they were all on one small boat. Several more vessels are thought to have been detected off Kent.

One of the children, a boy aged around four, looked exhausted as he laid back on the pebbles with his arms spread out.

The children all wore coats and one of the girls had a fluffy red onesie on.

The pregnant woman – thought to be eight months along – was wearing a black dress and face mask as she held the hand of a child.

She looked weary and had her head in her hand at one point.

Amateur photographer Susan Pilcher, who saw them on the beach, said: ‘I could hear the Border Force workers asking how many months pregnant she was and she said eight.

‘They didn’t speak much English at all. When you think that she’s doing such a risky crossing over the Channel when she’s heavily pregnant, that says how much they’ve been through.

It means 3,643 migrants have made the life-risking Channel crossing this year – nearly double the 1,850-odd who arrived in the whole of last year. Pictured: A child being checked by officials

‘It must be such a frightening thing to do. One of the kids was playing with an empty hand sanitiser bottle, filling it up with stones from the beach.

‘It’s heartbreaking – you can’t imagine what they’ve been through, but for them it’s just like a day out.

‘It was good to see them wrapped up warm – they don’t always have coats on and it must be really cold out at sea at night. I feel so sorry for all of them.’

Border Force, police and paramedics were at the scene and the migrants had their temperatures taken.

Conditions were perfect for crossing with a calm sea and good visibility.

The heavily-pregnant migrant woman was wearing a black dress as she strolled across the grass

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp said: ‘We are determined to make this route unviable and therefore give migrants no reason to gather on the northern coast of France.

‘France is a safe country with a well-functioning asylum system and there is no need for migrants to leave and attempt to come to the UK illegally.

‘We have offered to work with the French on safe returns at sea and we will continue work to return anyone who attempts the crossing.

‘We are continuing to go after the heinous criminals and organised crime networks putting people’s lives at risk.’

Police said of the Essex incident: ‘We were called to reports of two people found in a van in Basildon Drive, Basildon at around 9.20am on 29 July.

‘Officers attended and two people were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.’

Last Thursday’s record-breaking day of Channel crossings 

  • At around 3.26am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 12 males and four females who said they were Yemeni, Iranian, Sudanese and Iraqi nationals.
  • At around 3.26am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 14 males who said they were Eritrean and Sudanese nationals.
  • At around 3.26am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 17 males and one female who said they were Yemini, Syrian, Palestinian and Iranian nationals.
  • At around 4.01am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 11 males and two females who said they were Kuwaiti, Egyptian, Iraqi and Iranian nationals.
  • At around 4.50am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of five males who said they were Sudanese nationals.
  • At around 5.20am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of eight males who said they were Sudanese nationals.
  • At around 6.40am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 11 males and six females who said they were Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Iranian nationals.
  • At around 8.30am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 12 males who said they were Iraqi and Kuwaiti nationals.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of nine males who said they were Sudanese and Chad nationals.
  • At around 8.40am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 14 males and two women who said they were Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Iranian and Indian nationals.
  • At around 8.45am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 10 males and one female who said they were Eritrean, Sudanese, Chad and Egyptian nationals.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of four males who said they were Sudanese and Mali nationals.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of three males who said they were Sudanese nationals.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of eight males.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 10 males who said they were Sudanese nationals.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 10 males who said they were Sudanese nationals.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of seven males and seven females who said they were Iraqi nationals.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of four Iranian males.
  • At around 3.24pm, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of four Sudanese males.
  • At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of six males who said they were Sudanese and Eritrean.

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