Four suspected illegal immigrants have been detained at Dover, after being found stowed away in the back of a lorry.
The men, two Bangladeshis, an Indian and an Egyptian, were taken into custody.
The driver, a Romanian, was arrested, pleaded not guilty and was sent for trial.
That’s the good news, coming at the end of a summer which has seen more than 6,000 migrants cross the Channel from France.
At last, it seems, the authorities are getting tough. Now for the bad news.
The four men weren’t arriving at Dover, they were attempting to leave the country. You couldn’t make it up.
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN ponders what Priti Patel would think of the National Crime Agency’s ‘bold humanitarian intervention’
A spokesman for the National Crime Agency said proudly: ‘Four individuals have been prevented from making what was undoubtedly a hazardous journey.’
Why? They were inside a lorry about to board a ferry.
What’s hazardous about that? It’s not as if they were casting off from the beach in a children’s paddling pool or on one of those giant inflatable swans popular with holidaying footballers and their WAGs.
The authorities should have bid them a fond farewell, perhaps summoning a military brass band and rounding up a few locals to wave them off at the quayside with flags and tearstained hankies.
Missing you already. You can bet your life that if the French discovered a gang of illegals trying to leave their shores they would give them a police escort, complete with motorcycle outriders.
Just look at the way the French Navy has been shepherding dinghies full of migrants into British territorial waters.
I wonder what Priti Flamingo makes of this bold humanitarian intervention by the National Crime Agency.
Home Secretary Priti Patel says she will take all steps necessary to tackle human trafficking, despite opposition from Labour, ‘do-gooders and Leftie lawyers’ after a summer that saw thousands of migrants arrive off the Dover coast
She has just pledged a major shake-up of asylum laws to fix Britain’s ‘fundamentally broken system’.
The Home Secretary says she will take all steps necessary to tackle human trafficking, despite opposition from Labour, ‘do-gooders and Leftie lawyers’.
She could start by turning her attention to the activities of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, run by entrepreneur Armarpal Singh Gupta, dubbed ‘Britain’s legal aid king’.
Over the past three years, Gupta’s law firm has trousered £55million of taxpayers’ money, much of it for handling immigration cases.
Staff from Duncan Lewis have even been travelling to Calais to drum up business — sorry, ‘gain an understanding of the conditions asylum seekers are residing in’.
The company said it had been invited to visit the migrant camps by aid charities. Sources say Gupta’s lawyers work with gobetweens who refer migrants to the company once they make it to Britain.
Duncan Lewis has been involved in a number of recent cases brought to frustrate Home Office efforts to deport asylum seekers who have crossed from France in dinghies.
No one is suggesting that Gupta is doing anything illegal or unethical, perish the thought.
But there are undoubted similarities between his firm and Phil Shyster, the celebrity yuman rites brief who made a fortune from legal aid by pursuing British soldiers over ‘war crimes’ in Iraq.
Shyster, since struck off, used agents in Iraq to seek out ‘victims’ of alleged atrocities, who could then sue the British Government.
Representatives of Duncan Lewis appear to be trawling the beaches and transit camps of France for clients.
As the Tory MP Andrew Bridgen observes: ‘It beggars belief that they are going all the way to Calais only to perform charitable work with refugees and not offering their services and advice.
‘Maybe I’m being cynical, but it seems no accident that their business is so lucrative when they are making these trips.’
According to official figures, the firm received £17.6million in legal aid in 2017, £15.8million in 2018 and £11.3million last year.
It also pocketed a further £11million for criminal aid work. Gupta, who founded the company in 1998, has certainly done well out it. He has been able to tear down his house in North London and build a £2 million, five-bedroom home on the site. Nice work if you can get it.
Lawyers aren’t the only ones profiting – taxi firms are pocketing millions by carrying migrants to shelters after arriving in the UK, picking them up from Gatwick Airport and the Port of Dover
As the Mail said yesterday, the vast majority of the British public is behind Priti as she attempts to tackle the migration crisis.
The Government has a clear mandate to take back control, not just with the Brexit result but also the 80- seat majority handed to the Tories at the last election.
The problem she faces is that there are too many vested interests ranged against her, both political and financial.
Under New Labour, the legal establishment was colonised by the Left.
Tony Blair boasted that the incorporation of European human rights legislation into British law was the proudest achievement of his entire career.
Those of us who warned at the time that it would prove a get-out-of-jailfree charter for everyone from illegal immigrants to criminals, and a goldmine for opportunist lawyers, have been proved right in spades.
The worst aspect is that British taxpayers have been forced to pay for all this politically motivated legal activism, whether we like it or not.
Duncan Lewis’s more choice clients include an HIV-positive Zimbabwean rapist who was convicted in 2009 of attacking a woman in her own home and has been resisting, so far successfully, all attempts to deport him.
Heaven knows how much he’s cost us. The ‘rights’ of foreign nationals are constantly elevated above the best interests of the British people.
Immigration cases are among the most profitable sources of income for Left-wing law firms.
They can drag out cases for years, secure in the knowledge that their bills will be picked up by the taxpayer.
And they can usually rely on a judge to grant their injunctions against deportation when all other avenues have been exhausted.
Last week, for instance, a plane chartered to remove 30 illegal migrants from Britain departed with just one of them on board, after a last-minute plea to the courts blocked the expulsion of the other 29.
Priti Flamingo means well, and talks a good game, but until Britain withdraws from the pernicious European yuman rites racket, this country will remain a soft touch for illegal immigrants and assorted asylum seekers from all over the world.
Left-wing lawyers aren’t the only ones making a killing, either.
Plenty of unscrupulous businesses are happy to exploit cheap foreign labour, no questions asked.
Hoteliers have turned their establishments into immigration hostels, knowing that they have a guaranteed source of income — even during the recent lockdown, which has bankrupted many in the hospitality sector.
The Government has started using the disused Napier Barracks in Folkestone as a shelter for migrants that arrived over the summer, but RICHARD LITTLEJOHN thinks the country is a bit more like Hotel California
Clearsprings Ready Homes, based in Essex, is being paid £1.1billion by the Government to house migrants across Wales and the South of England.
It has provided accommodation and transport for most of those who have arrived this year by dinghy from Calais.
A taxi firm called Evo was awarded a contract worth £1.7million over two years to ferry asylum seekers around the country, picking them up from Gatwick Airport and the Port of Dover.
Some individual journeys have clocked up bills running into hundreds of pounds. The Mail on Sunday carried a picture of migrants in face masks being chauffeur-driven in an eightseater people carrier.
It reminded me of the classic Phoenix Nights episode which featured Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness driving a community minibus full of Asian pensioners to bingo, while singing the theme tune from Minder, I Could Be So Good For You.
Come to think of it, I Could Be So Good For You just about sums up this country’s appeal to migrants.
Why wouldn’t they want to come here, when they are guaranteed to be lavished with legal aid, free accommodation, free health care and generous benefits.
Their chances of being deported range from minimal to cat-in-hell’s. And in the unlikely event of them ever wanting to leave, the Home Office will send in the National Crime Agency to stop them.
For years we’ve been comparing Britain to the Hotel California, but this is ridiculous.
You can paddle across the Channel any time you like, but you can never leave…