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.