Police clear ‘new jungle’ near Dunkirk

Riot police stormed the camp at Teteghem, near Dunkirk, in three separate raids on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Several dozen arrests were made, while scores more refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, escaped and fled into the surrounding woods.

Most of those arrested were interviewed before being released on condition that they left the area, but eight were still being held in custody, judicial sources said.

The police operation came just over a year after the destruction of the original ‘jungle’ camp in Calais, when 278 migrants living in makeshift shacks were rounded up.

But many were later released on human rights grounds, enabling them to make fresh attempts to travel to Britain illegally.

Numbers of illegal immigrants in Teteghem have been soaring over recent months after a similar clampdown in the Calais region.

But local migrants charities said each time an encampment is emptied, it simply displaces the migrants elsewhere.

A spokesman for the Terre d’Asile aid organisation said: “Some have returned to Calais, some to Belgium and others to Paris.

“But all will still have the ultimate aim of sneaking into Britain,” he said.

The latest police action comes after the mayor of Teteghem called on Britain earlier this month to halt state handouts to migrants to deter them from crossing the Channel.

Franck Dhersin, a former MP and adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy, blamed the British benefits system for his village’s problems.

He said: “The reason the migrants keep coming to France and slipping over the Channel is because the UK is too generous with them.

“Stop giving them money and a place to live and they will soon go somewhere else. End of problem.”

He said Teteghem was an ideal camp location for migrants because it was next to the motorway linking France to Belgium and very close to the port of Dunkirk.

There are still an estimated 1,000 migrants massed on the northern French coast, with up to 50 a week thought to be crossing the Channel illegally into Britain.

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