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Lorries must be searched to avert another tragedy

Readers' letters | Published:

The deaths of 39 people smuggled into the UK is an enormous tragedy, not just for those who lost their lives, but also for their families and friends. And we should not forget those who have to deal with it – memories of what they see and have to do will be etched on their minds for the rest of their lives – believe me, I speak from experience.

The container lorry where 39 people were found dead inside leaves Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex

Those who lost their lives were not still trying to get into the UK – they had already made it into the UK when the macabre discovery was made.

No doubt some will blame poor border control caused by government cuts. However, there is an underlying greater cause – and it is the EU policy of open borders. I have driven considerable distances around Western Europe and even into what used to be Russian controlled Eastern Europe. Although driving a small van I was never searched and cannot even remember the last time my documents were checked. I also noticed that lorries were either not checked or only had cursory checks.

Our country is ridden with drugs, despite the amount seized by Border Force, and the same goes for non-tax paid cigarettes and spirits, as well as counterfeit goods. Much, if not most of these, cross over borders with little or no checks in place. Once a person or some goods get into the EU’s outer borders, there is more or less free range to go anywhere.

So that brings me onto Northern Ireland in a post-Brexit situation. The Irish Republic wants to keep the border open as it has eyes on gaining eventual control of Northern Ireland and the EU is backing it. If this happens it will be a weak point in our defences against trafficking and smuggling. I understand that many locals with contacts on both sides of the border want an easy crossing. There is no reason why private individuals and small regular businesses should not have an easy crossing, but large vehicles and non-local traffic should be subject to the same checks as those crossing elsewhere.

In a post-Brexit Britain I hope that smuggled goods and people will be reduced – especially on the drugs front with the deaths and heartache drug addiction causes.

Richard Camp, Wellington

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