Refugees in St Malo trailer bound for Jersey ‘thought they were going to die’

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According to newspaper Ouest-France, the incident took place in March and the men (28 and 29), who have not been named, were discovered ‘hungry and thirsty’ as they banged on the doors of the trailer, which was being stored in the port ahead of its departure for the Island.

Their cries were eventually heard by nearby workers, who released them and called border police who arrested the men shortly after.

While they were being sentenced in St Malo last week, the judge said it was a story that was heard on a regular basis – ‘the exploitation, by smugglers, of the misery of young people fleeing their country for a better future’. According to the newspaper, the pair had already been previously ordered to leave France.

Andy Hunt, assistant director for the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service, said the men had been trying to get to the UK.

‘There is no indication that people smugglers deliberately targeted freight trailers destined for Jersey but rather, as we have seen previously, the intended destination of the migrants was in fact England,’ he said.

‘We are of course very grateful that the two males were discovered safe and well before they came to any harm inside the trailer.’

Although uncommon, it is not the first time a refugee has made a desperate attempt to reach the Island. In 2018, a 23-year-old man was discovered soaked and cold in an area at the rear of Condor’s Rapide fast ferry. It later transpired that the man had jumped into the harbour in St Malo and swum to the vessel in an effort to get to Jersey.

A few months later a man was arrested at Anne Port after making his way across from France in an inflatable dinghy in an alleged attempt to escape ISIS. His application for asylum was refused due in part to the fact that he had already been granted asylum in another country. He was removed from the Island.

Two years earlier, then 29-year-old Iranian Amir Merikhi was arrested after being found in the boot of a car which had arrived from St Malo. His sister-in-law, Amanda Marreakhy, who was driving the vehicle, was also arrested. Mr Merikhi – who lived in the Calais jungle before trying to board a ferry to the UK – was handed a ten-week suspended sentence.

He was also granted asylum and then moved to the UK.

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