Campervan couple discover illegal migrant stowaway

PUBLISHED: 06:30 06 July 2015

Geoffrey and Christine Seward back home in Exmouth after they discovered a man was found to be hiding in their vehicle as they drove through Plymouth after returning from France. Ref exe 2125-27-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Geoffrey and Christine Seward back home in Exmouth after they discovered a man was found to be hiding in their vehicle as they drove through Plymouth after returning from France. Ref exe 2125-27-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

An Exmouth couple returning from holiday in France were stunned when a noise from the back of their campervan turned out to be a suspected illegal immigrant.

Christine Seward, 75, and husband Geoffrey, 86, of Littlemead Lane, were driving through Plymouth, having arrived back on the evening ferry from Roscoff on June 11, when they heard the wardrobe door bang.

Christine assumed she had forgotten to close it properly, but when turning to check, she was instead horrified to see a strange man emerging from it.

Despite the shock, Christine attempted to stop the man leaving, while her husband parked and they phoned for the police, but the man gave them the slip and ran off into the night.

Police did attend, but were unable to trace the man.

Christine said: “It was so scary. I said to him ‘I will call the police’. He said ‘No police, no money’.

“With a bit of push and shove, I managed to stop him getting out of the side door, but he pushed a bit harder and on and over the passenger seat and out through the cab door and started running.

“When I called the police, I could hardly speak on the phone I was so shocked. We shook for about an hour.”

Christine says she had previously seen the man on the ferry and believes he must have sneaked in before disembarking, when she left the van’s passenger door open as she went to help her husband with the car they were towing behind.

She is now warning others travelling back on ferries from France to be vigilant.

She said: “We are just very fortunate that he didn’t steal any belongings or passports or money.”

Christine, whose daughter does volunteer work helping asylum seekers in Croydon, added that having got over the initial shock, she and her husband did feel some sympathy for their unwanted passenger.

She said: “We both really felt for this guy. He had nothing on him apart from the clothes on his back.

“So many of these immigrants are coming in, and you feel terribly sorry for them, but they have to come through the right channels.”


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