Legal advice for stowaway problems on the rise
Road transport solicitors Smith Bowyer Clarke (SBC) said it was dealing with 10 cases per week where hauliers were seeking legal advice after receiving fines for stowaways inside their vehicles. It came as vehicle security firm TrailerLock warned that attempts to stowaway inside unsecure trailers had increased due to the significant rise in unaccompanied freight amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Simon Clarke, SBC solicitor said: “We have around 10 new instructions per week where hauliers are seeking to appeal against the imposition of penalties for clandestine entrants running into the tens of thousands of pounds. In some cases, having to pay these penalties would mean the company going out of business. “We are well used to dealing with penalties in the range of £20,000 to £40,000; we have just closed one case where a haulier had imposed against him a £68,000 penalty, reduced by us on appeal to £20,000.”
Clarke added: “Drivers may be vigilant in checking their vehicles; however, thousands of illegal immigrants hide inside trucks heading for the UK each year. Despite Border Force accepting that a driver and haulier have no idea that the illegal immigrants were inside the truck, penalties will be imposed. One of the best ways to prevent this is by securing the doors of a trailer with a robust lock that cannot be disarmed.”
TrailerLock said over one million trailers travelling between GB to Europe were now classed as unaccompanied and the risk of clandestine entrants had risen as a result.