Eurotunnel says migrant crisis is "too much for UK government to handle" as 1,500 people storm Channel Tunnel

Emma Haslett
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The statement came the morning after 1,500 people tried to get into the Channel Tunnel (Source: Getty)

The number of migrants trying to reach the UK from Calais is "too much" for the UK government to handle, Politics Home has reported the company operating the Channel Tunnel saying, as French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve promised 120 additional police officers to man the Eurotunnel site.

Read more: Eurotunnel faces delays as thousands try to enter Channel Tunnel

In a statement released the morning after a Sudanese man died as 1,500 migrants stormed the Channel Tunnel, Eurotunnel said it had "discreetly intercepted" as many as 37,000 migrants trying to reach the UK so far this year.

Since the arrival of migrants in the region around Calais, Eurotunnel has, beyond its contractual obligations, invested massively in both physical (fences, lighting, cameras, infra-red detectors...) and human resources to protect the terminal in Coquelles: a total sum of more than €160m (£113m), including €13m in the first six months of 2015. These considerable investments have already been followed in the second half of the year with new fencing around the platforms. Security patrol staff has been doubled to reach 200 employees, including sniffer dog patrols.

It added that the pressure on it "every night" was "above and beyond that which a concessionaire can reasonably handle".

Travellers using the service have suffered months of disruption caused by the growing levels of migrants attempting to make the crossing.

This morning Eurotunnel yet again was advising of delays of up to an hour from the UK side of the Channel, with only three departures from Calais per hour. The "disrupted timetable" was blamed on "migrant activity overnight".

This morning David Cameron said the crisis was "very concerning", adding that the government will do "everything it can" to help the situation.

On Monday night 2,000 people attempted to break through a security fence at Calais.

Meanwhile, Operation Stack, under which lorries attempting to cross the channel are parked on the M20, continued, while there were delays of up to an hour on the Le Shuttle service.

"We're working hard to resolve it," the company tweeted.

Shares in Eurotunnel were down two per cent to €12.93 this morning.

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