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Home   Dover   News   Article

John Van Wisse's world record attempt delayed at Dover over immigration fears in cross-Channel swim

27 August 2014
by Mercury reporter

Police raced to the Dover coast amid reports of an illegal immigrant landing in Britain - only to find a triathlete on a record attempt to swim the Channel.

John Van Wisse, 41, had already run 86 miles from London to Dover the previous day and was all set for the second leg of the gruelling 280-mile marathon from London to Paris.

He was standing on the beach waiting to set off on the 21-mile swim to Calais when he was confronted by police, border force officials and the coastguard.

The last thing you want on a World record attempt is to be asked for your passport

The last thing you want on a World record attempt is to be asked for your passport

They had received a tip off from a worried passerby who thought he was an illegal immigrant trying to struggle ashore.

One eyewitness said: "He'd jumped in and out of the water from a boat posing for pictures.

"It was hilarious and the police saw the funny side" - eyewitness

"We were only there around 15 minutes before the police turned up. They were walking up and down the beach thinking it was an illegal immigrant.

"It was hilarious and the police saw the funny side."

Kent Police said: "It looks like a couple of people called thinking it was illegal immigrants coming ashore because some people were seen jumping off a boat.

"The Border Force were down there and the Coastguard but it was a Channel swimmer."

Australian John hopes to beat the current London-Paris triathlete record of 73 hours and 39 minutes held by Brit Mark Bayliss from Croydon.

After arriving in France he faces the third and final leg of his challenge - an 180-mile bike ride to Paris.

Speaking before starting the endurance test he said: "I know it is going to be tough but I am up for the challenge."

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