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Bury St Edmunds rugby team’s shock at extra ‘passenger’ on tour bus




Andy Herlihy. Picture: Mark Westley.
Andy Herlihy. Picture: Mark Westley.

A Bury St Edmunds rugby team brought home more than they bargained for from a trip to France after a suspected illegal immigrant emerged from beneath their bus .

The U15 team from Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club arrived at their base on Sunday night and were shocked to see a young man crawl from the wheel arch of the bus.

As he attempted to flee, coach Andy Herlihy chased after him and took him into the clubhouse while they waited for police.

The 26-year-old man managed to evade the Calais Border Patrol, who had pulled another would-be illegal immigrant from beneath the club’s bus during security checks at the port, and cling on to the vehicle for eight hours.

Club president Chris Berry said: “Most people bring back a club tie or shirt from these trips and we managed to bring a (suspected) illegal immigrant with us.

“It made for an interesting end for an under 15s tour.”

The team arrived back at the rugby club, in Southgate Green, at about 8pm on Sunday following a weekend on tour at Nogent Le Routre Pecherons Rugby Club.

Mr Herlihy, who is a prison service manager, said: “We were clearing the coach making sure all the boys had all of their possessions when one of the travelling parties said another immigrant had dropped from underneath the bus.

“He couldn’t get going very quickly so he was quite easy to stop.

“We took him into the clubhouse. He was in a bit of shock and we wrapped him up in a space blanket and got him a Lucozade

“He told me he was from Sudan and he had been in France for six months. He told us he got on the bus when we got off at some services.

“You have to feel sorry for their plight because to do what they’ve done, the desperation, you think how dangerous that is climbing underneath a coach with all the mechanics.

“It’s reported quite a lot of them get crushed by the suspension so it just shows how desperate they are to escape where they’ve come from but also to get into Britain.”

A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said officers arrested a 26-year-old man, who was later transferred into the custody of immigration enforcement officers.



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