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Calais Warning !


whisturx

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whisturx - 2014-04-15 8:24 PMNext time we will not leave the van unattended

Or better still just don't stop in Calais, I go through the Eurotunnel six to eight times a year and I just can't understand why anyone would even think about stopping there. Sometimes the UK border control people ask me where I stayed previous night, I tell them "never in Calais" they give me a wry smile and often say "Very wise"   

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It really boils down to what you're comfortable with doesn't it?

 

Perhaps we've been lucky over the 15 years of visits but as others have said before, a common sense approach should serve you well.

 

But..

 

We had to stay in a hotel (long story) years ago in Le Havre, we parked the van under security lighting and in full view of cctv cameras and signage.

 

Of course a camera or a sign won't stop someone smashing a window they'll just reduce the risk.

 

Fortunately that's as bad as it got, one smashed window which autoglass fixed upon arrival in Portsmouth.

 

Flip side?

 

We have overnighted dozens of times on Cite Europe, and not once have we felt the need to move or one of us to remain in the van.

 

Martyn.

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Ian, thanks for sharing your experience with us and warning others. Recent television programmes have highlighted the problem with these very persistent people . They cannot be persuaded against trying to get to UK and something has to be done. Last year we stayed at Calais port aire in May and Sept. and saw nothing but this problem has seemed to escalate this year.

Thanks Ian as it makes us more aware yet again.

Chris

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duetto owner - 2014-04-19 6:39 AM

 

if you were a resident of calais sick to the back teeth of the crime what would you expect the council and police to do to get back to a nice safe town again.

 

 

From what I've seen on TV documentaries the problem of illegal immigrants in the Calais area is far too big for a local council to handle,

 

 

:-|

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multiplamum - 2014-04-17 9:37 AM

 

We are planning our first motorhoming trip to France this summer having visited regularly for the past 15 or so years and stayed firstly on large campsites in fixed tents and more recently in houses in a wide variety of coastal regions.

Someone once stole a bike of our from outside a cottage in a tiny hamlet in Brittany only cycle back past the house by mistake when we were able to reclaim our property - but generally i have felt extremely safe in France. However having met a couple last weekend whose RV was broken into in a supermarket car park when thousands of pounds worth of damage done, and with all these tales of break-ins in supermarkets my enthusiasm for my summer holiday is rapidly waning.

 

HOW BAD IS IT? We are very sensible but the idea of not being able to leave our motorhome in a supermarket car park in Brittany makes me wonder if I really want to go at all, and how safe will I feel when parked in an aire I wonder.

 

Should i really worry or are these very rare instances?

 

It has mostly already been said. Thieves congregate in areas where there is money. To take a London example, Quite a few years back Southwark had the lowest crime rate in London, though it felt distinctly "edgy" and Chelsea had the highest, although it generally felt comfortable. A smiley policemen explained that few thieves steal in their own neighbourhood as they were too likely to be recognised. Dogs and their own doorsteps. So, if you go to popular tourist hotspots you will be less secure than if you avoid them in favour of less popular, but frequently nicer, areas.

 

Calais has been a magnet for asylum seekers (and would-be illegal immigrants) for years now, but events around Europe mean the numbers go up and down. Presently, the pressure is very high. Not just at Calais, but I suspect at most of the channel ports in France, though to a lesser degree. So, don't hang around the port areas. There is no need to do so, and there are many aires, campsites, and supermarkets within a couple of hours drive from any of the ports. Just book channel crossings to arrive in France, and UK, in early afternoon so that you can drive straight away when arriving in France, and straight in when leaving France.

 

It is because the UK has border controls that they congregate, to try to stow away in anything with wheels that is heading for the UK. They should not have been able to reach France, because they should have been picked up when they crossed the EU borders. Not all borders are policed to the same standard, and the "porous" ones are well known to the desperate and the opportunistic, and to those who exploit them. It happens from time to time and place to place. For example, we witnessed a similar situation at Igoumenitsa in Greece in 2010, where (presumably) illegals were trying to get onto ferries to Italy. Away from the ports and hotspots (and the major cities), France is probably quieter and more law abiding overall then the UK, and even in the cities, unless you go cruising backstreets in certain immigrant quarters, it is no worse that pretty in much any UK city.

 

We have shopped at countless supermarkets all over France (and beyond), have always gone in together, and have never encountered trouble of any kind. You can be unlucky anywhere, but the idea that thieves are going to stake out some rural supermarket, in case someone in a motorhome turns up one day, is fanciful. In 99% of the country they'd die of starvation waiting! :-) Don't be put off: it is at least as safe as any other developed country. Not totally risk free, but no hotbed of crime either.

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Brian Kirby - 2014-04-20 10:51 PM

 

multiplamum - 2014-04-17 9:37 AM

 

We are planning our first motorhoming trip to France this summer having visited regularly for the past 15 or so years and stayed firstly on large campsites in fixed tents and more recently in houses in a wide variety of coastal regions.

Someone once stole a bike of our from outside a cottage in a tiny hamlet in Brittany only cycle back past the house by mistake when we were able to reclaim our property - but generally i have felt extremely safe in France. However having met a couple last weekend whose RV was broken into in a supermarket car park when thousands of pounds worth of damage done, and with all these tales of break-ins in supermarkets my enthusiasm for my summer holiday is rapidly waning.

 

HOW BAD IS IT? We are very sensible but the idea of not being able to leave our motorhome in a supermarket car park in Brittany makes me wonder if I really want to go at all, and how safe will I feel when parked in an aire I wonder.

 

Should i really worry or are these very rare instances?

 

It has mostly already been said. Thieves congregate in areas where there is money. To take a London example, Quite a few years back Southwark had the lowest crime rate in London, though it felt distinctly "edgy" and Chelsea had the highest, although it generally felt comfortable. A smiley policemen explained that few thieves steal in their own neighbourhood as they were too likely to be recognised. Dogs and their own doorsteps. So, if you go to popular tourist hotspots you will be less secure than if you avoid them in favour of less popular, but frequently nicer, areas.

 

Calais has been a magnet for asylum seekers (and would-be illegal immigrants) for years now, but events around Europe mean the numbers go up and down. Presently, the pressure is very high. Not just at Calais, but I suspect at most of the channel ports in France, though to a lesser degree. So, don't hang around the port areas. There is no need to do so, and there are many aires, campsites, and supermarkets within a couple of hours drive from any of the ports. Just book channel crossings to arrive in France, and UK, in early afternoon so that you can drive straight away when arriving in France, and straight in when leaving France.

 

It is because the UK has border controls that they congregate, to try to stow away in anything with wheels that is heading for the UK. They should not have been able to reach France, because they should have been picked up when they crossed the EU borders. Not all borders are policed to the same standard, and the "porous" ones are well known to the desperate and the opportunistic, and to those who exploit them. It happens from time to time and place to place. For example, we witnessed a similar situation at Igoumenitsa in Greece in 2010, where (presumably) illegals were trying to get onto ferries to Italy. Away from the ports and hotspots (and the major cities), France is probably quieter and more law abiding overall then the UK, and even in the cities, unless you go cruising backstreets in certain immigrant quarters, it is no worse that pretty in much any UK city.

 

We have shopped at countless supermarkets all over France (and beyond), have always gone in together, and have never encountered trouble of any kind. You can be unlucky anywhere, but the idea that thieves are going to stake out some rural supermarket, in case someone in a motorhome turns up one day, is fanciful. In 99% of the country they'd die of starvation waiting! :-) Don't be put off: it is at least as safe as any other developed country. Not totally risk free, but no hotbed of crime either.

 

Well said Brian couldn't agree more

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We've spent at least 10 nights at Cite Europe in the last couple of years,as well as plenty of overnights in motorway aires etc., and so far (touch wood etc ) have never had any problems whatsoever.

 

Specifically on Cite Europe, there have always been several ( 3-6) other campers at the same time, and I've never seen any sign at all of nefarious activity, or even any person remotely resembling an 'asylum seeker'. Maybe we've been lucky?................

 

It may not be beautiful, but it's got an excellent Carrefour, and it's very handy to be able to nip over over in the evening and be ready to roll the next morning.

 

We were there on Saturday night and are still here to tell the tale

:-D

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Its the port that is the main problem by the sound of it. Every time we use the tunnel they always check the garage in the van. Security seems high. City europe being next door then the imigrants may not try there as they think you are using the tunnel. I maybe wrong though thats just my guesswork??? Chris
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chris - 2014-04-21 8:40 PM

 

Its the port that is the main problem by the sound of it. Every time we use the tunnel they always check the garage in the van. Security seems high. City europe being next door then the imigrants may not try there as they think you are using the tunnel. I maybe wrong though thats just my guesswork??? Chris

 

Probably that, and the fact that there's an enormous police station at the edge of the car park.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I used Calais dockside Aire last night. One of the illegal immigrants tried to steal the bike(s) off the back at 1.00 am. I heard something and went out with my secret weapon in hand, he had undone the cover and wheel straps before running off.

 

Two plain clothes Police came over and asked me a few questions, then they informed me they were "staking out" the area. I went back to bed and unable to sleep I shoved my head out of the roof vent tank commander style and kept watch for about ten minutes. The toerag reappeared and I used my new super bright led torch to illuminate him, the Police saw him and a chase took place. After a short while I heard a load scream of ( I assume ) , pain and saw more Police running over. Just as I was nodding off the :Police knocked the door and informed me that he had been arrested and I would need to make a statement.

 

That's Calais dock off my list, and as has been said, the ramshackle camp is a disgrace, one was even sleeping on the traffic island!

 

Auchan had several wandering around and one at the checkout, he smelt rather bad but was still served.

 

By the way, I have an alarmed cable and two Yale heavy duty "U" locks to the rack so he had no chance of getting the bikes off without a hacksaw and lots of noise.

 

Avoid Calais until they sort this lot out,

 

H

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Sound advice and sorry it had to be learned the hard way.

 

We have never seen the point in stopping so close to any port when there are so many decent peaceful Aires and other opportunities less than an hour away in every direction.

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Re Halliis post - we have stayed on Calais seafront aire a number of times without any problems - the number of other vans gives safety in numbers, also there are frequent police patrols.

 

But perhaps we cannot stay there again - I hear rumours from another website that the beachfront aire is due to close this week, as the council want to redevelop the old campsite and aire into a new conference centre. If so, a great pity - it was a bit noisy from the ferries, but next door is the best restaurant in Calais where we always enjoyed a good meal the night before returning. If the beachfront aire is closing, I assume that the yacht basin parking will still remain open, but there are no water / emptying facilities there.

 

Can anyone confirm the imminent closure?

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You know things are really bad when French themselves tell you they are relieved to be out of their own country as they no longer feel secure. The only place i now stay in France is on the Aire at Bray Dune and there is never any trouble there.....possibly as the Police Station is right opposite!

 

As for "never leaving the van unattended", that's all too easily said.......but when you 'fly solo' as i and a few others do, you don't have that option.

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If it helps, and the OP was discussing using Auchen, we used the Auchen at Bolougne yesterday, a few minutes down the road...

 

Hypermarché Auchan Boulogne

RN 42

62280 Saint-Martin-Boulogne

 

We both needed to go in and shop as I can't be trusted alone in the wine section, so I nipped out every 20 mins to check the 'van, and there wasn't a soul about that looked remotely shifty (apart from me that is).

 

 

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The police have cleared camps before if I remember correctly, but the would-be immigrants merely scatter and regroup somewhere else. The underlying problem is the "pull factors" causing these people to want to come to Europe - and to the UK in particular. And of course the dreadful situations from which they have escaped. There is no political solution, so there is no definitive policing solution either.

 

Fortunately for us things might be a bit quieter and safer in Calais for a while.

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Guest pelmetman
boxerbob62 - 2014-05-28 8:04 PM

 

Looks like the french police have decided to do something about the immigrants at Calais- ITV news showed bulldozers flattening the make shift camps -- heres hoping it clears the problem . (lol)

 

Yep..........hundreds of illegal immigrants without a makeshift tent to shelter in :-S.................that'll solve it :-|.....................

 

This just highlights how the EU has hog tied its members from solving these problems *-)..............

 

 

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Guest Had Enough
Bulletguy - 2014-05-28 11:18 PM

 

Nobody ever makes a fuss about either of these guys entering the UK.....in fact they are free to come and go as they wish and nobody raises an eyebrow.

 

I wonder why? ;-)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rinat_Akhmetov

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Abramovich

 

I think it may be something to do with the fact that they don't draw benefit and won't place even greater strains on our NHS and other services. And if they can come and go freely it usually means that they will also be UK taxpayers and contribute millions to the country.

 

Seems pretty obvious to me.

 

I'm not against immigration but we should choose whom we allow in very carefully. If they will benefit the country or are genuine refugees that's fine. Others need to be strictly controlled.

 

I think that the populace made its views known only recently! ;-)

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Had Enough - 2014-05-29 10:00 AM

 

 

I think it may be something to do with the fact that they don't draw benefit and won't place even greater strains on our NHS and other services. And if they can come and go freely it usually means that they will also be UK taxpayers and contribute millions to the country.

 

Seems pretty obvious to me.

 

I'm not against immigration but we should choose whom we allow in very carefully. If they will benefit the country or are genuine refugees that's fine. Others need to be strictly controlled.

 

I think that the populace made its views known only recently! ;-)

 

 

Really? You actually believe that?

 

Better read the first eight paragraphs of this then; http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/29/why-do-we-pay-more-council-tax-than-knightsbridge-oligarchs

 

 

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Guest Had Enough
Bulletguy - 2014-05-29 2:08 PM

 

Had Enough - 2014-05-29 10:00 AM

 

 

I think it may be something to do with the fact that they don't draw benefit and won't place even greater strains on our NHS and other services. And if they can come and go freely it usually means that they will also be UK taxpayers and contribute millions to the country.

 

Seems pretty obvious to me.

 

I'm not against immigration but we should choose whom we allow in very carefully. If they will benefit the country or are genuine refugees that's fine. Others need to be strictly controlled.

 

I think that the populace made its views known only recently! ;-)

 

 

Really? You actually believe that?

 

Better read the first eight paragraphs of this then; http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/29/why-do-we-pay-more-council-tax-than-knightsbridge-oligarchs

 

 

Sorry, but I could never be bothered reading long Guardian articles but after a quick scan I think that the gist of it is that rich people in big houses don't pay a very high rate of council tax.

 

What has the rate of council tax got to do with anything? If the government set it higher they'd pay more.

 

Rich immigrants contribute enormously to this country. They run businesses and pay tax. Your article mentioned a rich Ukrainian who paid £136 million for two flats at One Hyde park. Perhaps you're not aware that he'd have paid nearly ten million pounds in stamp duty.

 

Ten million pounds! And the lefties are worried that he's not paying any more council tax.

 

How many people do they employ? How much do they spend and contribute to our economy?

 

Forget all that though comrades - they're not paying enough council tax. Only because they're not asked to of course!

 

Anyway, I'm sure you'll want to respond but if you don't mind I'll leave it here. This is a subject that should never have been brought up in Motorhome Matters and is for Chatterbox, where I never go these days.

 

 

Finally, if you like the Guardian here's an article from it telling us that we should

salute the super rich and welcome them to Britain. It's only the left with their politics of envy and who'd cut off their noses to spite their faces who would disagree.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/12/salute-super-rich-uk-billionaires

 

 

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Over the last 2 months I have been driving back and fore to Holland, Belgium and northern France, and I have seen Immigrants as far away as Gent, They were hanging around the car park of the service area on the A10 until the Police arrived. Also around Dunkirk. We have even seen them down at Lille and Boulogne. On our last trip we caught one trying to crawl under our Bus luckily one of us always stays with the coach, Last December a coach next to us was broken into, they were looking for Passports according to the Police, that’s why the target British Vehicles, Going over again this Saturday but this time in my Motorhome ,Just checked my alarm is still in good working order.
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