Bomb squad called to Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone to reports of suspicious vehicle

Explosive experts have shut the Channel tunnel terminal in Kent after a suspicious vehicle was stopped during a routine check.

A man has been detained and a cordon remains in place, while the police have confirmed that the incident is not connected to the ongoing search for suspected terrorist Daniel Khalife.

Thousands of people hoping to travel with vehicles from Folkestone to Calais are currently being held in traffic queues with disruption expected for the remainder of the afternoon.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “At around 10.30am on Friday 8 September 2023 a suspicious vehicle was stopped at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Cheriton.

“Explosives experts from the British Army have been called to the scene and a cordon has been put in place for the safety of the public. This is currently having an effect on traffic approaching the terminal.

“A man has been detained in connection with the incident and enquiries are ongoing.”

Eurotunnel, now known as LeShuttle, warned that travel would be “severely disrupted” and advised customers to check their website for further updates.

A spokesperson for LeShuttle said: “A suspicious vehicle has been intercepted during a routine security check at the Channel Tunnel Terminal in Folkestone.

“Kent police and specialist officers are dealing with the incident. Access to the Folkestone terminal is currently suspended awaiting the outcome of the police intervention.

“Customers are advised to check on the LeShuttle website and social media for the latest travel information.

“Customers are advised that, because of this incident, travel will be severely disrupted throughout the afternoon and to prepare to modify their travel plans as a consequence.”

Some travellers are being transferred to ferry services from nearby Dover. Incoming shuttles are running as normal, and Eurostar train services from Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam are unaffected.

While the incident is not connected to the manhunt for Daniel Khalife, motorists heading for east Kent are being delayed by the closure of part of the coastbound M20 motorway as the search for the terror suspect continues.

The former British Army soldier escaped from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday morning by clinging on to the strappings on the underside of a delivery food van.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has said police are working “night and day” to recapture Khalife.

Police have not ruled out the possibility he may have managed to flee the country, despite heightened border checks.

Khalife has links to the West Midlands – having been stationed at the Ministry of Defence’s Beacon Barracks in Stafford – and Kingston upon Thames in south-west London, but the hunt is covering the whole of the UK.

The incident in Folkestone is not related to the search for fugitive Daniel Khalife (Metropolitan Police/PA)

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