Monthly Archives

January 2016

3-2-1….Lift off..!

By | Jungle Canopy Blog

We’re delighted to announce the launch of a new aid operation in Calais.

“Jungle Canopy” is a UK organisation, delivering donated caravans and supporting the building of shelters and community kitchens, collaborating with other operations to deliver the most effective aid possible.

Members of the team have previously been core to the deployment of over 40 caravans into the Calais refugee camp, before consolidating to form Jungle Canopy.

Every caravan delivered to Calais, goes directly to a refugee family.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/junglecanopy
Twitter: @JungleCanopy

Please join the Facebook group and share as widely as possible.

Thanks!

Chris – Lorry Driver

By | Lorry Drivers Blog

To give you a flavour of the issues we face, we run into Calais and regularly face what seem like gangs of marauding young guys trying anything to get on our trucks. They damage them, smash our mirrors so we can’t see our trailers, slash curtains and break locks to get in. They then threaten us with violence and seemingly get away with it. It’s getting worse and worse and I personally have had rocks and bricks thrown at me and been threatened because they cannot get in my secure truck. I have had guys run the fingers across their throats whilst looking at me because they cannot get in. I’m a 17 stone ex 2nd row forward who is still fit and also box so not much spooks me but this situation does. We are powerless and defenseless against these attacks because we dare not get out of our trucks to protect them and no-one will help. If the migrants do manage to get in to our trucks, we face huge fines of £2,000 per migrant. Just recently, a pal of mine found 2 migrants in his trailer in Dover. They got in through the roof despite his best security efforts. This has cost him and his company £4,000 in fines, £800 trailer repairs and a load written off because the migrants urinated and defecated in the trailer. His insurance premium will now go up markedly as well. The 2 guys were taken away and are probably sitting in a bedsit somewhere happy to be here whist my mate picks up the tab. I think you will agree this is wrong. If migrants are found in a trailer, the load is generally written off especially if it is for the food industry or clothing. The mess these migrants leave has to be seen to be believed but why should they care? They know that they won’t be charged with criminal damage and can just walk away.

The recent case of Rob Lawrie and the child he tried to smuggle into the UK just made things worse. OK, I understand his compassion here, but they also found 2 migrants in his vehicle. If that had been a truck, we would have had up to £6,000 in fines if we had crossed the channel. He was caught with 3 people in the back of his van. Can you imagine how we feel when we get hammered, in identical circumstances?

The majority of migrants we see attacking, and I use the word attacking deliberately, our trucks are not Syrian. They are mostly of African descent and as far as I’m aware not fleeing barrel bombs and IS. They seem to be economic migrants who have no rights to just wander about Europe picking and choosing where they want to live. It just doesn’t work like that and they are using the Syrian and Iraqi situation to their advantage. They are very, very aggressive and seemingly not bothered about the dangers of breaking into trucks or being caught by the police. The situation has got the the point where a driver will be killed by a brick, hammer or scaffold tube through his screen. All the time when this happens, the police sit back and watch and nothing happens. You have seen the pictures and videos on social media so know it’s true and it is happening on a daily basis.
Most of us have the utmost sympathy for the Syrians refugees and would gladly do all we could to help them but these aggressive and fearless economic migrants are watering down any compassion we have for the genuine refugees. From figures I have read, up to 70% are economic so therefore illegal immigrants. I see the jungle from my vantage point and living there must be horrendous and I understand the aid organisations trying to help the genuine refugees.

But, and it’s a big but, all we see is by helping to make the camp permanent, you will attract more and more illegal immigrants to Calais and almost invite them to try and get in our trucks. I know for a fact that some aid workers have stated that this is their aim and they have been seen aiding the migrants. I have questioned a few about it on ferries and I got the normal responses of “you are racist and bigoted and don’t understand”. I have also been told by 2 of the leading aid organisations that I should “change my job” and more bizarrely “it’s only an inconvenience to you”! Really? Why should anyone have to go through what we do regularly? It’s 2016 for goodness sake! I have to bite my tongue and walk away as they won’t give me their address so I can send them the fines and bills for damage to my truck!

I personally rarely do European work now as my family and friends are worried for my safety. The delays at the ports are horrendous when there is an attack on the trucks and there is real physical danger for me and my colleagues. In fact, a good number of us highly experienced and hard working guys have just had enough of the hassle. We are being replaced with underpaid Eastern Europeans who don’t care about their load, their truck or who the hell gets in the back. It’s a bad situation all round. You may be taken aback sometimes by the anger and bitterness some of us truckers use when talking about this situation but we are just utterly frustrated by the lack of understanding and action taken to protect us going about our daily jobs.

Chris

Simon – Lorry Driver

By | Lorry Drivers Blog

In the past couple of years the journey through Calais has taken a turn for the worse for truck drivers. No driver in their right mind sleeps anywhere near Calais nowadays. Now we take a chance on going over our driving time spending hours queuing for a train or boat. Upon arrival in the UK we are then at the mercy of Kents lorry haters with nowhere to park. If we are found to have any migrants sneaked on to the truck we are fined £2000 per person. That’s our fine, not the company’s and don’t think for one minute the checks we do make any difference. Our tacho cards are then subject to police scrutiny over the next few weeks in every EEC country where we are subjected to further fines. Print outs of port delays are no defence on the side of the road in Italy three weeks later. The machine shows an infringement and that is finite. Driving into the port can be a nightmare. There are plenty of pictures and videos showing bricks, rocks, pieces of wood thrown at windscreens. Pallets, trolleys and other large objects are regularly thrown into the road in front of the trucks to get them to stop therefore creating traffic jams allowing the migrants to break into the trucks. I saw an exit dividing sign in the road one night. If the driver had followed the sign and stayed left at 90kph then he would have crossed the central reservation into oncoming traffic, maybe into a coach load of school kids. Thankfully his experience taught him all was not as it seemed and he avoided the situation. That experience is gradually disappearing as drivers like myself are not prepared to put up with this just for doing our job.

Years ago we could easily eject any clandestine from our trailers, nowadays it’s not a chance anybody would take. They are armed with knives, bats and even guns, fake or otherwise. We cannot protect ourselves as we are not allowed to carry any defensive weapons. We simply have to sit there while they slash our trailers and shop freely inside. A call to the police results in being told to report the issue at the port Millions of pounds worth of goods have been contaminated and destroyed, pharmaceuticals, aircraft parts, fruit, and vegetables etc. Drivers are threatened and physically attacked. Just last week a driver was robbed down diesel alley, alleviated of his phones, laptop, credit cards and money, even his boots, taken at knifepoint. Another driver I know is still waiting for further surgery after having a brick thrown at him a year ago. He lost all his teeth on his lower jaw. There are many, many similar reports. Time and time again drivers are told that these attacks on us are because the “refugees” are desperate but if a genuine refugee is fleeing violence then why repeat it elsewhere and expect sympathy. Accepting violence against truck drivers to be used as a mitigating circumstance to further ones cause is not acceptable.

Simon