The boss of a Kent airfield converted into a coronavirus testing site has defended a letter warning employees they must stop taking drugs and having sex on site.
Security managers at Manston Airfield, which tests drivers entering France, distributed the note telling staff there had been a number of ‘incidents’ and ‘allegations’ including staff offering drugs to each other.
It also says they were made aware of staff having sex with each other on the night shift and hurling abuse at Ghurkha soldiers who are assisting at the site in Ramsgate, Kent.
It also claims drivers are arriving at the site with fake negative Covid test certificate.
And Tony Smith, director of Right Guard Security Group, has defended the inflammatory note and pointed out they have been ‘very successful’.
Security managers at Manston Airfield, which tests drivers entering France, have distributed a letter telling staff that they are of a number of ‘incidents’ and ‘allegations’ including staff offering drugs to each other.
He told Kent Online: ‘This letter was a memo that went out, with guidelines, to staff.
‘I understand how it may look and in some cases, the memo may not have been worded in the best way. It’s not a free-for-all here; it’s not a Sunday morning playing football – it’s a very busy site.
‘A number of the operatives working here are high-level professionals, such as ex-police, ex-prison service and ex-military personnel.
‘But we’ve got a huge number of staff, 600-800 of all different people, and naturally some of them, a small number, need reminding about how to behave.’
The former Manston Airport site was transformed into a Covid-19 testing centre for lorry drivers travelling to Europe.
Hundreds of trucks fill the runway at the former RAF airfield at Manston in Kent as the Port of Dover was closed last month
Staff working at the testing centre have warned of a number of concerning incidents involving drugs and forged papers.
According to a report in KentOnline, one worker told how there had been sexual encounters between staff members as well as reports of employees taking and offering cannabis and cocaine.
‘There’s lots of young people working here and it’s very cliquey,’ the anonymous staff member told the publication.
‘People treat it like a social event. Some are on furlough or looking for other jobs so they don’t really care about this job.
‘You’ll see them rolling joints, and someone was caught twice with cocaine and the police were called.’
A letter sent to staff by security contractor Rightguard and leaked to KentOnline mentioned a ‘number of incidents and allegations’ including ‘reports of staff taking and offering drugs to others whilst on shift’.
The site was established just before Christmas as a new variant of the coronavirus was discovered and France refused entry to anyone without a negative test, leaving thousands of hauliers stranded.
The letter continued: ‘Information has been given to senior managers regarding sexual encounters that are taking place on the site during the night shift.’
According to the letter, some of the hauliers had also been forging documentation saying they had had a negative Covid test.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: ‘These reports are concerning and we’re investigating with the company that manages the site as a matter of urgency.’
In December, 3,800 drivers parked up at Manston Airport, as another 1,000 were held in official ‘traffic management operations’ across Kent.
A coronavirus testing centre near parked trucks at Manston airport on Tuesday, December 22
According to the letter, some of the hauliers had also been forging documentation saying they had had a negative Covid test. Pictured, the airfield on December 22
One Polish driver told MailOnline: ‘We are sick of this – I’ve been in Dover for two days and want to go home for Christmas. Nobody wants another night sleeping in their cab.’
Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association described the situation as ‘chaos’ as he said the drivers were ‘tired, frustrated, [and] desperately wanting to get home for Christmas.’
The military and NHS are currently carrying out a mass testing programme after France confirmed it would allow hauliers with a negative Covid test to travel across the French border.
The rapid test kits deliver results in 30 minutes, but are controversial as lateral flow kits are more likely to miss people who are carrying the virus.
The military and NHS are currently carrying out a mass testing programme after France confirmed it would allow hauliers with a negative Covid test to travel across the French border. Pictured, trucks taking part in a no deal planning exercise in January 2019
Van driver Emil Liveu, who was transporting parcels from the UK to Romania, was stuck at the Port of Dover over Christmas.
He said he was trying to get home to spend his first Christmas with his new baby: ‘We’re stuck here. No toilet, no food.’
‘They told me I need to get a Covid test to cross the border,’ the 30-year-old said.
‘I found a private test, I paid for it, they give me the test, I come back here and they told me no.’
Mr Liveu, who spent days sleeping in his cab, said: ‘It’s hard to pay for a hotel when you have paid £130 for the test, money for diesel, paying for the motorway.’
On making it back home to Romania for Christmas, he said: ‘If I leave now, maybe I’ll get back. But to be honest, I don’t think I have any chance.
A 12 foot-deep ‘sinkhole’ (pictured) emerged on the runway at the former airfield that housed 4,000 lorries which were attempting to take goods across the Channel
The disused Manston Airport was used to accommodate 4,000 HGVs as a way to ease congestion around the Port of Dover pre-Christmas. A sinkhole appeared on the runway (pictured)
‘I have a small baby at home, it would be first Christmas together, but that’s it, I guess we’ll do it on Facebook.
‘Everyone is hoping because there are a lot of people here with children.’
Last month, a 12 foot-deep ‘sinkhole’ emerged on the runway at the former airfield.
The sinkhole, which first appeared on Boxing Day, was estimated to be around 5ft by 4ft across and a depth of 10 to 12ft.
Director of the company RiverOak Strategic Partners that owns Manston Aiport Tony Freudmann believed the hole, thought to be caused by water erosion, was manmade.
Mr Freudmann told KentOnline after visiting the site: ‘I’m not an expert, but speaking as a layperson, it looks to me that the hole is man-made.
‘I think it has been dug out for some reason in the past and then been capped.’
He also explained how the hole is not on the main runway but on ‘an old taxi runway’ which runs alongside it.
The usage of the disused Manston Airfield in Kent as a lorry park had originally been planned as a post-Brexit contingency in the event of a No Deal scenario.