Derbyshire Dales family finds illegal immigrant under camper van

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A father and daughter got a shock when they returned to the UK following a trip to the continent to find an illegal immigrant clinging to the bottom of their camper van.

Paul Coles, of Middleton–by–Wirksworth, and his daughter Joanne, were returning their rented camper van to its owner in Kent on Monday, having returned from France on the Eurostar, when they made the discovery.

Paul, 50, said: “I was unloading the back of the camper van when I looked down and just saw this pair of eyes in between my legs.

“He was underneath the camper. I was shocked.”

Paul said the man pulled himself from underneath the vehicle and stood before him.

“He didn’t speak a word of English. I don’t know where he was from,” he added.

“We gave him a sandwich and a drink and called the police.”

The man did not try to run away, but instead waited while the authorities came to fetch him.

Paul said when the man was taken away in a police car he was crying.

“I did feel sorry for him,” he continued.

“They’re just trying to get to a better place.”

Paul said he thought the man must have attached himself to the bottom of the vehicle before coming through the Channel Tunnel.

“We had been going on motorways at 70 and 80 miles per hour,” the auto electrician added.

“He must have been clinging on by his finger nails.

“Imagine if he couldn’t have held on as we were driving.”

Paul had travelled to Andorra, in France, because Joanne, 22, had been representing Great Britain in the women’s Trials des Nations (TDN), an international motorcycle trial, in which she and her team mates Emma Bristow and Becky Cook, took first place.

“She came back with more than just a gold,” Paul said.

He said he had heard of illegal immigrants travelling into the country underneath lorries, but would not have expected one to cling onto a camper van.

The man was described as being in his late teens to early 20s.

He was scribbling notes down on a piece of paper in a language that looked like Arabic.

Kent Police have confirmed that the man was transferred to the Home Office Immigration Enforcement to await further action.

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