Stowaway fines hang over HGV driver

An HGV driver, who could face fines of up to £10,000 after five stowaways were discovered in the back of his vehicle in January, said the Home Office still hadn’t contacted him.

Jim Rushton told that the lack of communication was “the worst part”, following the incident in Calais on 12 January.

Rushton insisted he had undertaken all the relevant checks and his HGV had even passed through a heartbeat machine in the French port before five illegal immigrants were later found on top of his load.

“I have not heard a thing yet,” he said. “This is the worst part, just hanging about waiting for what’s going to happen to you. At least I had the balls to stand up for myself. A lot of drivers think that’s it, I’m going to get fined.”
The driver, who works for BJ Waters (Transport), has continued to do international work and regularly crosses the Channel, but he added: “When I come back now I am extra vigilant. With them getting rid of the Jungle, it’s forcing immigrants more and more out from Calais. Now you have to be very careful when you park further away.”

Lucy Allan MP has backed Rushton and wrote to the Home Secretary to raise the issue. “I’ve now received a response from the Home Office [acknowledging the issue is being looked into] and shared this with Mr Rushton. I am hopeful a positive outcome will be reached. I am now trying to secure a debate to discuss the issue of clandestines,” she said.