October 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
A Sudanese teenager was found clinging on to the underside of a coach packed with Ilford schoolchildren returning from a trip to France.
The 16-year-old boy, a suspected illegal immigrant, was caught after the driver of the coach heard noises under the vehicle and drove straight to Ilford Police Station.
A spokesman for South Woodford-based Dans Luxury Travel said the schoolchildren had been returning from a trip to Calais.
Passer-by Mary Hawksworth, 48, from Redbridge, was on her way home when she saw the incident unfold shortly after 7pm on Friday.
“The coach was full of schoolchildren,” she said. “They were about 13 to 15-years-old.
“The children were sitting there oblivious to what was happening.”
She said she saw a woman get off who was “flapping around a bit”.
“They knew there was someone under there,” she added.
“Then one of them flagged down a passing police car about to go into the police station and they [the police] got out.
“There was about six or seven police officers all looking under the coach.
“I heard them say ‘get out’ and I thought ‘what?’ and I saw a man crawl out from under the coach.”
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Shortly before 7.15pm on Friday, June 27, a coach driver attended Ilford Police Station reporting that noises coming from underneath the vehicle were suspected to be from an hidden ‘stowaway’.
“Officers searched the underneath of the coach and found a man attached to the chassis. He was arrested on suspicion of illegal entry into the UK and taken into custody at the station.
“The arrested man informed police he was 16 years old and from Sudan.
“Immigration authorities have been informed.”
A Home Office spokesman confirmed the department had been informed, adding: “When suspected illegal immigrants are arrested by police, we respond quickly.
“We work closely with police to tackle illegal immigration. Where someone is found to have no legal right to remain in the UK we will take action to remove them.”
• Was your child on the coach? Contact the Ilford Recorder newsdesk on 0208 477 3821 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Police are appealing to anyone with information in relation to a stolen vehicle to come forward.