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No ticket, no passport - no hassle!

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:40 03 March 2010

SECURITY at Britain's frontiers was questioned today after a Suffolk woman who was mugged in France was let back into the country with no ID.

Helen Jones was relieved but astounded when customs officials just waved her through the so-called tight security at the checkpoint – even though she had no passport, driving licence, or tickets.

SECURITY at Britain's frontiers was questioned today after a Suffolk woman who was mugged in France was let back into the country with no ID.

Helen Jones was relieved but astounded when customs officials just waved her through the so-called tight security at the checkpoint – even though she had no passport, driving licence, or tickets.

"It was lucky for us but I could have been anyone looking vulnerable, with a sob story, sitting crying in my car," said Mrs Jones, of Felixstowe.

"We hear on the news about the massive security at ports and airports in the current world climate but we were just waved through on to the train.

"No wanted to search our car or even look into the boot. It was ridiculous – we could not even get the police interested in our problems."

Mrs Jones, 40, who works for the Coastal Homeless Action Group in Felixstowe, and her husband Kevin, 42, a lorry driver, went on a day trip to France on Friday via Eurotunnel.

They stopped off to shop at the City Europe shopping haven but were unable to buy any tobacco so decided to go move on to Calais.

They went to the tobacconist and then had a drink, before deciding to walk up to see the beautiful Town Hall building.

"We could see all these youngsters on what appeared to be 49cc Puch maxi type bikes roaring up and down the road but didn't think much of it," said Mrs Jones.

"Then one suddenly comes up behind us on this wide pavement, grabs my handbag and my bag with the tobacco in and speeds off.

"My handbag contained everything – our passports, my driving licence, family allowance book, money, cashpoint card and credit cards. It was a nightmare."

Mrs Jones was unhurt but she and her husband decided to inform the police immediately. However, the French people were reluctant to help at all and would not show them where the police station was or give them money to ring.

The couple, who have a 14-year-old son Reece, went back to Eurotunnel to cancel their lost credit cards as quickly as possible.

"Still no-one was very interested or wanted to help us tell the police," she said.

"They asked us for our tickets, but of course we had lost them in the mugging. One official said he would call his chief and when he came off the phone he just waved us through.

"Even at Customs we were not searched – just waved through. There was a guard dressed in camouflage and armed but did not even come across to check.

"We expected so much hassle, but they just waved us through. We could have been anybody trying to get into Britain."

No-one was available to comment from the Home Office today.


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