A KENT haulier has claimed the Government needs "to get its house in order" over illegal immigrants entering the UK.
Derek Linch, 58, who runs a haulage firm at Sycamore Farm, Romney Marsh, said he cut ties with Europe last year after the UK immigration authorities fined him £3,750 for having five illegal immigrants on board one of his lorries, when it was stopped in Calais.
The lorry driver at the time was also fined £1,250 despite not knowing the vagrants had broken into his trailer.
Mr Linch used to have four vehicles working across Europe out of Dover, but now he operates only in the UK, a move that has cost him an annual loss of £400,000.
'Out of control'
He said: "That was the final nail in the coffin. When you are fined for going about your business, it is not worth the aggravation. The way they treated the driver was like he was a criminal.
"It's about time the Government got its house in order. They make out lorry drivers are at fault. It's crazy. The situation is out of control."
The Immigration Service say they have stopped 17,000 people illegally crossing the channel in 2006. But Mr Linch added: "But what about the 17,000 coming in they don't know anything about?
"In the last four years it has got worse. More and more people are desperate to get into this country. It's like they are coming to the promised land because they know they are going to get looked after."
Geoff Dossetter, the external affairs director for the Freight Transport Association, believes the situation has improved since the closure of the Sangatte camp in 2003, but agrees with Mr Linch regarding the vulnerable position of lorry drivers.
He said: "The Home office treat the transport industry with suspicion believing lorry drivers are the cause of the problem rather than the victim.
"There are a number who are ferrying these people in but the vast majority of drivers are not doing this."
The economic and social impact of immigration
Meanwhile,Migrationwatch UK chairman, Sir Andrew Green, has given evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee examining the benefit of immigration to our economy, which he says equates to about 63 pence per head.
He said: "The measurable economic benefit is extremely small. This is in addition to the fact that England is now the most crowded country in Europe except for Malta."
Mr Green, who was a professional diplomat for 35 years, sympathised with counties like Kent, who have the task to house immigrants, of which two-thirds come from Africa and Asia and the remaining third from the EU.
He added: "When the individual counties are instructed to build new homes nobody is aware or told that a large part of the demand is a result of high level of immigration.
"70 per cent of foreign immigrants go to London and the South East so much of the pressure of numbers on housing is felt in these two areas.
"It has been allowed to get out of hand. The Government's own forecast is that immigration will add 10 million people to our population in the next 25 years.
"That means we are going to have to build in England cities the size of Birmingham every two and half years. You have to ask yourself where you going to do that?"
Kent County Council leader Cllr Paul Carter said that Kent already has high housing targets to meet.
He said: "Kent is already facing the prospect of 6,000 new homes being built in the county every year over the next 20 years. To cope with this we will need a huge government investment in our infrastructure and I have repeatedly made this clear at the highest level.
"Uncontrolled migration places enormous demands on housing and infrastructure needs."