French police fear growing numbers of jihadi terrorists could be hiding among the thousands of British-bound refugees in Calais.
Islamic extremists lurking among 7,000 migrants in the northern French port could be making daily attempts to sneak into the UK, officials said.
A senior police source told Le Figaro newspaper: “What is going on in the camp is truly worrying. Our officers rarely penetrate into the heart of the camp.
“It is impossible to know if a jihadi from say Belgium, for example, is hiding there. The area is not policeable and has become a national security black hole.”
Calais police union spokesman Denis Hurth added: “With the heightened terrorist risk in all of France’s towns and cities, we only have around 1,000 officers here to tackle the most gigantic public order threats here.”
And Pascal Brice, head of France’s Office for the Protection of Refugees, added: “Identifying high-risk individuals has now become an absolute priority for us. It is imperative we root them out.”
The warning comes after French anti-terrorist police raided a hotel in Calais last November over fears a jihadi cell was using it as a base to sneak into Britain.
Officials refused to confirm whether any arrests were made or if weapons and explosives had been seized, but local media reported that “heavy weapons” were found inside the hotel.
A police source added at the time: “There are always fears that terrorists are living among the thousands of illegal immigrants in Calais.”
There are currently an estimated 6,000 migrants living in a squalid shanty town near the Calais ferry port known as the jungle.
Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart has blamed Britain’s “black market economy” and “cushy benefits system” for thousands of migrants in her town.
She said last year: “Calais is a hostage to the British. The UK border should be moved from Calais to the English side of the Channel because we’re not here to do their jobs.”