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MoveCorp hit with £19,500 after finding 13 clandestines in truck

Aug 05, 2015
With increasing numbers of illegal immigrants attempting to board lorries in Calais and other Channel ports, James Tennant, Managing Director of Walsall-based removers MoveCorp Ltd. is urging other removal companies to make sure their checking procedures are fit for purpose and are adhered to by their drivers.
MoveCorp was hit with a fine of £19,500 following the discovery of 13 clandestine immigrants in 2013. The fine was subsequently reduced to £7500 on appeal, but after legal fees the final cost was still almost £18,000.

The driver was returning from France on the M25 when he heard banging noises from inside the truck and pulled into a service area to call the police.

James said his driver had conducted all the usual checks before leaving France and had no idea how the immigrants had got into the lorry. Despite the locks appearing to be intact and the doors being securely closed the 13 unwelcome passengers had somehow been able to climb aboard.

“The onus was on us to prove that we did all the checks and followed procedures but that's unfair. Because they have got such an immense problem we are having to do the work of the UK Border Force because they can't control it themselves,” said James. “The most frustrating thing is that our driver could have opened the doors and let them go, but because he did the right thing and reported it, we have ended up being the ones penalised.”

“The fine came out of the blue. Our driver explained the situation and then we were asked to provide more details a few weeks after the incident. We did this and were then told we would be fined £19,500 - £1,500 for each of the illegal immigrants found hiding in the truck.”

Since the incident in 2013 MoveCorp has joined the UK Border Force’s Civil Penalty Accreditation Scheme and James is encouraging other movers to do the same. Under the scheme companies using the Channel ports submit their checking procedures to the UK Border Force for approval. Once approved, and provided the procedures are meticulously followed, the risk of being fined should clandestines be found are significantly reduced.

“There have been a couple of incidents since we joined the Accreditation Scheme, but because we could prove we had followed the approved process we were not fined,” said James.

It took about a year for MoveCorp’s compliance people to prepare suitable documentation for its drivers to follow and for the scheme to be approved by the UK Border Force, but James believes it was well worth it. The Accreditation Scheme is free to apply for, but the work involved in creating the documentation can be quite daunting, especially for smaller operators.

“I wanted to go public with what happened to us so that other removal companies don’t get caught out like we did,” said James. “I’ll be happy to help other movers draw up their own procedures, they can even use some of our templates if they want to.”

James believes that with the thousands of people now gathering in Calais trying to get across the Channel, it’s a question of when, rather than if clandestines will attempt to hitch a ride, and with the heavy fines being imposed by the UK Border Force it could mean the end of the road for many smaller operators.


For information about the UK Border Force’s Civil Penalty Accreditation Scheme contact:

Civil Penalty Central Administration Unit, Resources Directorate - Border Force, Amadeus Building, The Quadrant, Mondial Way, Harlington, Middlesex, UB3 5AR.

Phone: +44 (0)20 3014 8180 email: civilpenaltyunit@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk


Photo: Police open the MoveCorp truc after receiving a call from the driver, who reported hearing noises. Once opened, 13 illegal immigrants were found inside the vehicle, despite all the usual checks having been made.


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