A TRAVEL company owner who caught an illegal immigrant hiding under his coach fears he could be fined £2,000.

Ross Patrick, 58, discovered the stowaway perched underneath the rear axle as he dropped off holidaymakers in Newhaven on Wednesday night.

He believes the man endured nearly six hours under the bus as it travelled along the M25 and M23 back to Sussex at speeds of up to 60mph.

Mr Patrick heard banging and yelling from underneath the bus as about 20 passengers disembarked after a two-day trip to Boulogne-sur-Mer, organised by Mr Patrick’s company Victoria Travel Sussex Ltd. He believes the man, who he described as black and in his 20s, travelled undetected through the Eurotunnel.

He said: “I could not believe he had been under the bus all that time.

“He had obviously realised he was in England and was yelling to me to stop so he could get away.

“But I called the police straight away and they escorted me to Newhaven Docks where he was arrested by immigration police.”

Mr Patrick said he was “shocked” as he was then told he could face a fine for transporting the man into the country and fears it would stunt his recently launched business.

He said: “The risk of being fined gives people like me no incentive to help the officials and makes me wonder if it’s worth travelling abroad at all.

“I only launched the company two and a half years ago and if I’m fined it will have a serious affect on my livelihood.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “We were contacted at 10.45pm on Wednesday by a man who reported he had found someone hiding under his vehicle.

“A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.

“The incident is being dealt with by the Border Force.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Security at the UK border is our priority and we will continue to strengthen it to stop those who have no right to enter the UK.

"Border Force works closely with the haulage industry to ensure drivers and hauliers are aware of what steps they are expected to take to secure their vehicles. "Those who are found to have would-be illegal immigrants on their vehicles can avoid a civil penalty if they prove they have taken these steps.”


A HOLIDAY-MAKER was “shocked” as border guards chased illegal immigrants away from a French dock gate as he travelled back to Newhaven.

The 32-year-old Brighton man, who has asked to be named only as Keiron, told The Argus he watched the saga carry on for hours as he travelled back from Dieppe to the UK in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He said: “I found it quite upsetting and horrifying.

“The police took torches and dogs sniffed people out from hiding under lorries.

“They chased some in a van as they ran off and then rounded up about eight people and held them on a roundabout until the ferry left, then they let them go.

“Everybody was standing out of their cars watching in shock. It’s something you never expect to see.

“I spoke to an immigration officer as I came into the UK and he said a lack of man power meant it was difficult to police the problem.

“I felt sorry for them, they are taking their lives in their hands and want to come over here for a better life.

“But there didn’t seem to be anything anyone could do to stop the situation.”

National media reports this week claim as many as 12,000 migrants try to get into Britain illegally through Calais each year.