Man travelled on dead wife's passport
IT'S not difficult to tell the difference between Mike Hudson and his late wife Elaine Leighton.However on a recent trip to France immigration officials failed to notice the difference after Mr Hudson, from Great Bealings, accidentally used the passport of his wife, who died last September after a long illness.
IT'S not difficult to tell the difference between Mike Hudson and his late wife Elaine Leighton.
However on a recent trip to France immigration officials failed to notice the difference after Mr Hudson, from Great Bealings, accidentally used the passport of his wife, who died last September after a long illness.
Mr Hudson described how he "sailed" through ID checks at both Dover and Calais despite having the wrong documentation.
He said: "Before I left for France on Friday I accidentally took my late wife's passport out of the office safe instead of my own.
"However I didn't even realise it was the wrong one until we were in France and were on the way back to England on Sunday. It was then that I noticed that I had picked it up by mistake.
"I obviously thought that we were bound to be stopped but we sailed straight through immigration without any problems."
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Mr Hudson, managing director for lighting manufacturers Light Years Ahead Limited in Rendlesham, travelled to Calais with his two children Polly-Anna and Oliver, and his elderly mother, Pam, to visit the grave of a relative who died during the First World War.
He added that the closest the group came to being stopped was at English passport control at Dover when they were told: "Four passports, four passengers. Away you go."
Mr Hudson continued: "What makes it worse is that because my wife died just six months after we got married her maiden name was still on the passport and so our surnames didn't even match.
"I'm appalled. It really is quite unbelievable. At both the British and French customs it seems no one checked the passports properly.
"They were taken out and scanned but no one looked to check that the pictures matched up to the people in the car.
"All the travel details were in my name, yet no one at immigration even questioned that there was no one by the name of Mike Hudson in the party."
A spokesperson for the Home Office said that although the immigration service did not operate checks on people leaving the country they did check people on their arrival into England.
She added: "In checking everyone there is clearly a balance to be struck between combining a quick and relaxed process for the vast majority of the travelling public and offering appropriate levels of scrutiny and security.
"The immigration service takes very seriously anything suggesting that there has been a shortcoming in this process.
"Once we are aware of the particular circumstances we will consider what action we will need to take."