A British escaped prisoner was back in custody tonight after being caught trying to travel through the entire length of the Channel Tunnel to France on foot – bringing trains to a standstill.
The 31-year-old, whose identity has not been released by authorities, was seen disappearing into the mouth of the 31-mile tunnel at Folkestone in Kent a week ago.
It is only the second known incident of its kind, and happened despite massive security measures inside the undersea facility.
An British prisoner who escaped and was caught trying to walk the Channel Tunnel to France is back in custody (file image)
Police teams were alerted on both sides of the Tunnel, and it was French officials who eventually found the man.
‘They arrested him and took him out of the Tunnel at Coquelles,’ said a French police source.
‘He was heading to France from England, and presenting a clear danger to all Tunnel users, including himself. He was running, so as to get to France as soon as possible.’
Following the arrest on December 21, the man was fast tracked through the court system in France, and appeared in court at Boulogne-sur-Mer last Wednesday.
‘He refused to give his name or address, but thanks to the British, he was soon identified as a thirty-one-year-old escaped prisoner,’ said the same source.
It is only the second known incident of its kind. In 2015, Abdul Haroun (pictured) walked the length of the Channel Tunnel and was eventually granted asylum in the UK
Because of a further information not being available, the man was remanded in custody in France, prior to another hearing on February 1 next year, said the source.
It is estimated that the disruption to traffic caused by the incident cost Eurotunnel – the Channel Tunnel operator – some £45,000 in lost revenue.
A spokesman for Eurotunnel said: ‘A person was detected inside the Channel Tunnel and taken into custody by the French Authorities.’
A Sudanese migrant who walked the length of the Channel Tunnel from France in 2015 was eventually granted asylum in the UK a year later.
Abdul Haroun was initially charged with obstructing a railway under 19th-century legislation before also being held in custody.
But the 40-year-old was instead granted asylum, leading to Eurotunnel saying in a statement: ‘He not only caused significant disruption to Eurotunnel and to the many freight and passenger customers travelling at the time, he also put his own life and that of others at risk.’
Trains travel at up to 100mph along the Channel Tunnel line and pose an immense danger to anyone walking in the Tunnel.