Are clandestine entrants a growing concern in the haulage industry?

For fleet operators and drivers travelling back and forth to Europe, a growing concern for both parties is the risk of clandestine entrants – a common occurrence for truck drivers who are often unaware until it is too late. 

Many clandestine entrants, often through no fault of their own, will be desperate to leave their countries and enter the UK. However, it poses a significant risk to the entrants and the drivers transporting them unknowingly across borders. 

Since 2014, there have been approximately 70,000 illegal arrivals in the back of trucks or containers. A figure on course to rise as, in 2021, estimations concluded that 9,000 clandestine entrants arrived in the UK by lorry or container – almost double the previous year.

What measures can truck drivers take?

Truck drivers play a significant role in preventing the transportation of clandestine entrants. Taking the following measures can reduce the chances of unknowingly transporting stowaways:

-Ensure you have a vehicle security checklist – check the vehicle after every stop.

-During loading, never leave your truck unattended.

-On hard-sided vehicles, lock doors and secure with a padlock.

-On soft-sided vehicles, lock doors and apply a high-quality tilt cord.

-Check panniers, the wind deflector, and axles. 

-If damage is evident, check the load and load space and re-apply security devices.

-Know what to do if you find stowaways on board – your fleet manager should provide you with training that covers this.

-Always remain alert and careful.

What can truck stops do to help?

As a hive of activity, truck stops are a prime target for clandestine entrants to stow away in load spaces of trucks. However, these stops also play a crucial role in preventing this from occurring by implementing robust security measures.

Our SNAP Access & Security team can provide the following tailored security products and expertise to protect your site:

-CCTV cameras

-Thermal imaging cameras

-Smoke and phone detection

-People counting


We also recommend the following security measures to ensure a safe and secure truck stop:


-24/7 watchmen.

What are the consequences of transporting clandestine entrants?

If caught at the Channel ports with illegal immigrants hiding in their vehicles, truck drivers will face a £10,000 fine per stowaway – up from £2,000.

A decision that has been negatively received by those in the haulage industry. However, the government has reassured them that it aims to target “negligence rather than criminality” and reiterated the importance of drivers remaining alert to the dangers.

Hotspots for illegal transportation

Juxtaposed border controls between 2016 and 2019 saw over 150,000 migrants attempting to pass clandestinely. Numbers were particularly high at the following borders:

Calais – 81,331

Coquelles – 43,807

Dunkirk – 30,332

SNAP Account provides you and your drivers with a vast network of trusted locations.

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