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Crackdown continues on illegal immigration in Calais

The UK Border Agency has reported a dramatic reduction in the number of illegal migrants trying to smuggle themselves into the UK from Calais.

In the last year, there has been an 80 per cent fall in attempts to enter the UK illegally from Calais. More than 24,000 illegal migrants were caught during the 12 months to September 2009 – over the following 12 months, the number was approximately 5,000.

The figures indicate the effect of closing the makeshift 'jungle' camp for illegal immigrants in Calais a year ago.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

'Our figures indicate that the strength of UK and French controls at Calais, along with the steps taken to clear the notorious camps near the port, have sent a clear message to illegal migrants making for the British border: don't bother, you won't get in.

'In the year following the camp's clearance, we have seen an almost 80 per cent reduction in the number of illegal immigrants caught attempting to evade our strict controls at the port, suggesting a dramatic fall in the number of illegal immigrants trying to breach the border.

'I'm not complacent – we must maintain our stringent border checks and I am committed to continuing to work with the French government to build on this success.'

The UK Border Agency has officers based in France to stop illegal immigrants before they get to the UK. They use sniffer dogs, heartbeat detectors and carbon dioxide probes to find people hiding in lorries attempting to enter the UK illegally.