Belgian policeman arrested after helping 13 UK-bound migrants cross the French border

FRENCH border force arrested two Belgian police officers after 13 illegal immigrants – including three minors – were found hiding in the back of their van. Belgian policemen arrested 13 UK-bound migrants across the French border to ‘help them get to Calais’

The Belgian police officers admitted they were trying to help the immigrants reach Calais quickly

The shamefaced Belgians admitted driving the migrants across the border, but said they were only trying to help them reach their desired destination – Calais – more quickly.France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he strongly condemned the incident, which took place in Nieppe, a town on the Franco-Belgian in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region.

Mr Cazeneuve was so “unhappy” about what happened he called an emergency meeting with the Belgian ambassador to discuss the incident.

According to officials, a French lorry driver heard strange noises coming from the back of his truck soon after crossing the border into Belgium on Wednesday morning; unbeknownst to him, 13 migrants had managed to jump into his lorry.The driver immediately called the French police, but it was the Belgians who took over, and they drove the 13 migrants over to the local police station, in Ypres, where they were interrogated.

The migrants said they had got inside the wrong truck; and claimed they thought the lorry driver was on his way to the port of Calais, from where they would eventually try and reach the UK.

What the police officers should have done at this point is let the migrants go, and let them find their way back by foot – but they did not.

Bernard CazeneuveGETTY

Mr Cazeneuve said he strongly condemned the incident and called an emergency meeting

According to Ypres’s police chief Georges Aeck, come nightfall, the police officers decided to give the migrants a “helping hand” by driving them back into France and dropping them off 50 metre from the border, which is illegal.He said: “We did not do this for money; this is not people smuggling.

“We just wanted to give them a helping hand. We didn’t want to drop them off in a town they’d never been to before at night.”

The two Belgian ‘Samaritans’ were promptly arrested after a local Frenchman called the police after seeing the 13 migrants run out of the truck and head towards a corn field.

The two policemen claim they did nothing more but follow orders, and that their bosses had ordered them to take the migrants back to France.They also admitted that this was not the first time they had been asked to drive migrants across the border and back into France, and that they had done so several times over the last couple of months.

Prefecture officials also denounced the incident, and said they hoped the French and the Belgians would be able to put the incident behind them, and combat illegal immigration together.

The prefecture also confirmed that the three underage migrants had been taken into the care of social services in Lille, and that the 10 adults had been detained.

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