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Home Secretary visits Dover

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

by Graham Tutthill

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has seen for himself the work UK Border Agency staff are doing at Dover docks to prevent illegal goods and people being smuggled into the country.

He watched a new scanner being operated to check the contents of a lorry before before heading to an examination shed where lorries are subjected to physical searches.

And he also saw a consignment of half a million cigarettes which had been discovered among a cargo of bolts in a lorry a few days earlier.

Revenue and Customs officer Richard Fagg explained to the Home Secretary how the cigarettes had been found hidden the lorry when it arrived from Poland.

Mr Johnson praised the work of the Border Agency staff, and said the new scanner was one of the high tech ways that they were able to detect smuggled goods.

He also said he supported the work of the French authorities to stop illegal immigrants crossing the Channel, and said the number coming to the UK was now a quarter of what it was at the height of the people smuggling some 10 to 15 years ago.

And he confirmed Prime Minister Gordon Brown's pledge that the government would not force Dover Harbour Board to privatise the Port of Dover, but would help find other ways of attracting investment for future developments at the port.

Mr Johnson then went on to meet representatives of the community on Dover's Buckland Estate, and to see how life had improved for the residents since the various agencies, with local people, had worked together to provide more facilities.

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