Migrants in France made hundreds of attempts overnight to penetrate the Channel Tunnel to enter the United Kingdom, a police source said Tuesday, a day after Britain announced new measures to curb the flow of migrants by forcing landlords to evict them.
The migrant crisis in the northern French port of Calais has worsened over the past week, as people try to reach the U.K. through the tunnel. Last week, a Sudanese man in his 30s died, apparently crushed to death by a truck, and at least 10 people have been killed since June trying to get to Britain, where many already have family members.
A police source said Tuesday some 500 migrants were seen overnight next to the Channel Tunnel site near Calais. Of the 600 attempts they made to get into the site, about 400 were repelled by authorities. Of the other 200 people, 180 were caught within the site and removed and a further 20 were arrested, authorities said.
Eurotunnel, which operates the Channel Tunnel, was also inspecting a section of one of the undersea tunnels for an "anomaly" that was causing delays, the group said.
Passengers taking the vehicle shuttle from Folkestone in Britain to France had to wait two hours before boarding, and those on the French side were delayed one hour. It was not immediately clear whether the problem was an issue with the rail track, the presence of a migrant or another incident.
The crisis has become a contentious issue on both sides of the Channel, with both British and French police bolstering their presence by adding dozens of officers. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has urged Britain to do more to deter the flow of migrants.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has come under fire for comments in which he referred to "swarms" of people seeking to get into the country, announced new measures to crack down on illegal immigration.
Under the new rules, British landlords who do not remove undocumented migrants, or who do not check their immigration status before renting them a property, could be jailed for up to five years. The move, announced by Greg Clark, Britain's communities secretary, is set to be included in a new immigration bill that will be debated by the British parliament in coming months.
Al Jazeera and wire services