Migrants hide in coach taking children back from French school trip

Officers attended the scene, but no arrests were made
Officers attended the scene, but no arrests were made - Daily Echo/Solent News

Two migrants were found in the luggage hold of a coach taking children back from a school trip to France, parents have said.

The teachers, pupils and parents who were waiting to collect them found the stowaways when they arrived home from the three-day trip.

The men, who parents said looked to be in their early 20s, were found hiding among the luggage when the hold was opened after the journey back to the UK.

One mother waiting to collect her child said the incident at Hounsdown School in Totton, Hampshire, was “horrendous”.

One of the men tried to run off but was stopped by parents, and one child’s luggage was said to have been covered in urine.

The coach had been carrying Year 9 and 10 pupils back from a three-day school trip to Boulogne University, around 20 miles south of Calais.

The teachers and pupils had travelled home on the coach via the Eurotunnel at Calais, returning to Totton, near Southampton, on Saturday evening.

‘My son is so upset’

“It was horrendous,” one mother said. “[My son’s] luggage was covered in urine, and his belongings crumpled by one of the men being on top of it.

“I asked them in French if they spoke English or French, and they replied French. I was about to ask them where they’d come from but got ushered away by the teachers.”

Following the discovery of the men, she said she had gone into “panic mode” as she went to grab her 14-year-old son’s baggage from the coach.

She said: “My one aim was to get my child off the bus, and once I had I went back as I couldn’t handle seeing kids being asked to take their baggage out of the hold.

“I just said ‘excusez-moi’ to the gent and leaned over him to get the rest of the bags out as my son’s was tucked underneath him.”

A woman named only as Tabi, who had been waiting to collect her daughter, told the BBC:  “Obviously it’s quite concerning because there were 36 children on the coach and no one was aware that they [the men] were on there. I understand these immigrants are wanting a better life, but it’s not very good targeting a coach full of children.”

She added: “They looked as though they were [aged] between 20 and 30.”

Another parent said: “My son is so upset, bless him. He’s told me to cancel him going away next year with the school and has said he’d rather wait until he can pay to go when he’s older.

“After such an incredible trip, too! The teachers couldn’t have done a better job the whole way through, I really do feel for them right now.”

No arrests made

Hampshire police confirmed that officers attended but no arrests were made. A spokesman said: “We were called just before 5.15pm on Saturday, Feb 10, to reports that two people, who were possibly illegal immigrants, had been found at Hounsdown School in Totton. Officers have attended. No arrests have been made.”

The Telegraph understands that the two men were not arrested because they are believed to be underage.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government works closely with law enforcement agencies to tackle illegal migration in all its forms.

“Our Illegal Migration Act will mean that people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”

The incident happened on the same day that 124 migrants crossed the Channel on three small boats, taking the total number of arrivals this year to 1,506.

In 2015, a group of illegal immigrants smuggled themselves onto the luggage compartment of a coach returning from France, sprinting from the baggage hold when it arrived at a school in Ware, Hertfordshire.

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