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Security guards search motorway services for migrants

20:33 14/02/2018

The Belgian interior ministry has begun paying a private security firm to patrol motorway service areas in search of migrants attempting to board trucks bound for the UK.

Security guards with dogs will be responsible for checking five car parks every night between 18.00 and 6.00. "They will not be the same car parks every night," said interior minister Jan Jambon. "The ones they check will be determined based on a risk analysis by police."

The guards will have no powers of arrest. "When they see someone climbing in a truck, they will call the police to act," Jambon added. "They themselves are not allowed to use force."

Jambon said the patrols would be carried out "for as long as necessary". It follows a number of incidents invoving migrants and suspected people-smugglers at motorway service stations along the E40 out of Brussels towards the coast.

In related news, 26 people were arrested on Tuesday and 36 migrants taken into care in a joint Belgium-UK police operation targeting a suspected people-smuggling network. In total, 24 properties were raided on both sides of the Channel, with drugs and cash seized.

Photo: Thierry Roge/Belga