British couple slam French police after 2 migrants tried to stow awayApril 16, 2023
‘It was like a comedy sketch!’: British couple slam farcical French police who insisted there was ‘ne personne’ on their caravan… despite two migrants hiding under the bed and duvet covers
- EXCLUSIVE: Catherine and Bruce Broughton found migrants in their caravan
- French gendarmes said ‘ne personne’ after looking in, but one was under duvet
A British couple have accused French police of an ‘astonishing’ dereliction of duty after two migrants attempted to stowaway to the UK in their caravan.
Catherine Broughton, 71, and her husband Bruce, 74, were returning from a two-week holiday near La Rochelle.
The couple were shopping for wine in the port of Caen when a fellow shopper told them two men believed to be migrants had broken into their caravan.
They ran outside and after spotting their four-berth Bailey Unicorn caravan had clearly been broken into they alerted two gendarmes who were driving by in a patrol car.
Mrs Broughton, a writer, said what followed was like a ‘comic sketch’ as the two officers stepped into the caravan.
British couple Catherine Broughton (right), 71, and her husband Bruce (left), 74, have accused French police of an ‘astonishing’ dereliction of duty after two migrants attempted to stowaway to the UK in their caravan.
The couple were shopping for wine in the port of Caen in France when a fellow shopper told them two men believed to be migrants had broken into their caravan (file photo)
She said: ‘The gendarmes came out and said: “Ne personne” meaning there was no-one there.’
Mrs Broughton, who is a fluent French-speaker, said: ‘The officers were just mumbling to themselves saying there was no-one there and acting as if we were just wasting their time.
‘I don’t think they thought I would understand them but they were completely disinterested. It was astonishing. I think it was time for their lunch.
‘But when we walked into the caravan I could see within seconds there was someone hiding under the duvet.
‘It was like something out of a comic sketch or a farce. It was bordering on funny but the gendarmes were not interested in finding anybody – to them it was just more work.
‘After he had climbed out I asked the gendarmes to look again in the wardrobes and units and they again said: ‘Ne personne, ne personne’ but I insisted they look under the bed and, sure enough, there was the second stowaway.
‘How do you not spot a person hiding under a duvet and under a bed. It’s laughable. It was just clear the gendarmes didn’t give a tuppence.
‘I spoke to the second boy in my rudimentary Arabic. One was called Mohammed and the other was called Omar. I’d estimate they were between 17-20 years of age and they were clearly desperate.
‘I felt really sorry for them. I gave him a bag of food which he was clearly delighted with.
‘He wouldn’t tell me where they were from but I think they may have been from one of the sub-Saharan countries, possibly Sudan.’
Mrs Broughton, who is a fluent French-speaker, said: ‘There was quite a bit of damage to the caravan windows where the boys had broken in and a bit of damage to a table inside.
‘The gendarmes asked whether we wanted to press charges and, of course, we said: ‘No’ so the officers just waved the two guys away. They sort of shooed them off. I was amazed.’
After alerting the French gendarmes to the migrants breaking in, ‘the gendarmes (file photo) came out and said: “Ne personne” meaning there was no-one there,’ Mrs Broughton said
Last November the Government signed a historic £62m deal with France to help their officials tackle the cross-Channel migrant crisis.
The crackdown came after the number of migrants who arrived in Britain on small boats this year hit more than 40,000 last year.
But Mrs Broughton, a mother-of-three grown up children, says the British government should ask for a refund as their French counterparts are not taking the matter seriously.
Mr Broughton, a retired structural engineer, said: ‘Rishi Sunak should ask for the refund. Quite clearly the French authorities are not keeping up their part of the deal.
‘It was a joke. The French police didn’t even take or attempt to take their details. It was incredible.’
The couple have a holiday home near La Rochelle and often travel to and from the UK by ferry.
They said ports such as Caen and St Malo always have clusters of migrants hanging around the entrance attempting to try their luck and more should be done to help them.
Mrs Broughton, who was born in South Africa, said: ‘I feel I should tell them it’s not that great over in the UK for them and they could find themselves stuck in a migrant centre. They should stay in France.
‘I think the Government probably needs to get the message across that this country isn’t a bed a roses for them, tell them ‘Don’t bother’. I feel terribly sorry for them but the UK is not the answer.’
The couple say they have never experienced anything like it before and have vowed to be extra-vigilant on future trips to France.
Source: Read Full Article