Published: 00:01, 08 October 2016
Licensees of a popular pub are warning others after a mob of about 40 masked men, believed to be refugees, attacked a car they were travelling in near Calais.
Landlord and lady of the George Inn in Newnham, Paul and Lisa Burton, who were returning from a day trip to Ypres with a group of elderly customers when the incident happened, say they were terrified and will not return to France until the crisis is under control.
It took place on a main road about a mile from the port, close to the migrant encampment known as the Calais Jungle where more than 6,000 refugees are living in dire conditions and putting their lives on the line to get to Britain.
Mr Burton said: “We take our staff and friends on a day trip across the Channel, to Bruges or Belgium or France, often a few times a year.
“It was a great day out until we started our return journey to Calais.
“We were about a mile from the port at about 9pm and the road was suddenly blocked by a load of people with hoods and covered faces. I have no doubt that they were refugees.
“They were banging on the windows, hitting the car and trying to get in, shouting and screaming at us.
“Lisa was driving and she was blowing on her horn and driving slowly through, but who knows what would have happened if she had stopped.”
When Paul approached border controls at the port to tell them about what had happened, they said that an incident like this was not uncommon anymore.
"The situation in Calais is clearly completely out of control" - Paul Burton
They also said that a lot of it goes unreported and a coach recently had all of its windows smashed.
Lisa added: “We all just gasped as soon as we saw the group and some of the older ones in the car were really upset as it was terrifying.
“I don’t know what they thought they could achieve by acting in this way. They are desperate, I know, and maybe angry that we could get to England so easy and they couldn’t but why did they think that by attacking and scaring us, this could help them?
“We won’t be returning until we know we are safe to travel around Calais and we want people to be aware of the situation. Imagine if we had children in the car?
“The ferry may be cheap at £19 a crossing, but it’s not worth it when you are at risk of this.”
Paul said: “Obviously it would be different if something like this happened here, someone would be arrested, but we have decided not to take it any further because it was on French soil and we are not sure what police would do anyway.
“The situation in Calais is clearly completely out of control.
“We often go over to France on the ferry, two or three times a year, and we know a lot of others who do the same, but now we have seen what can happen on the other side, we will think twice before going back, and we hope others do too.”