School trip stowaways presented ‘no threat’ to community, head teacher says

One of the men found on the school coach
One of the men tried to run off but was stopped by parents and one child’s luggage was said to be covered in urine - DAILY ECHO/SOLENT NEWS AGENCY

Two migrants who were found hiding in the luggage hold of a coach full of students presented “no threat” to the community, the school has said.

The suspected illegal immigrants were found as children from Hounsdown School in Totton, Hampshire were returning from a trip to France.

The school pupils, their teachers and their parents who were waiting to collect them were shocked when they arrived home from the three-day trip and found two stowaways hiding among the luggage.

In a statement the school said: “Following the Hampshire Police statement released over the weekend the school can confirm that two possible illegal immigrants were discovered hiding in the baggage compartment of a coach bringing a school trip back from France.

“Police attended promptly although there was no sense of threat to the school community in attendance.

“The two people found were treated with compassion by staff and parents throughout.

“Investigations into the matter rest with the Home Office, working with other agencies as required, and therefore we have no further comment to make.”

One of the men tried to run off but was stopped by parents and one child’s luggage was said to be covered in urine.

The coach had been carrying Year 9 and 10 pupils who had just come back from a three-day school trip visiting Boulogne University, about 20 miles south of Calais.

The teachers and pupils had travelled home on the coach via the Eurotunnel at Calais, returning to Totton, near Southampton, on Saturday evening.

The coach had been carrying Year 9 and 10 pupils from Hounsdown School in Totton, Hampshire
The coach had been carrying Year 9 and 10 pupils from Hounsdown School in Totton, Hampshire - ANDREW CROFT/SOLENT NEWS AGENCY

“It was horrendous,” one mother said.

Describing the moment the men were found, she said: “[My son’s] luggage was covered in urine and his belongings crumpled by one of the men being on top of it.”

Yesterday a teenage girl described her shock at discovering the migrants in the hold of the coach.

Scarlett Qiunton told ITV Meridian: “We got off the bus and the compartment was opened and everyone was just trying to get their suitcases and then I see a man sat in the bottom.

“He was really calm, he was just sat staring at us and he seemed pretty comfy, and me and my friend were like, ‘oh my God, there’s someone in there’.”

She added: “I sort of saw their legs, and then I ran over to my mum.

“It was all just a bit of a shock really.”

Scarlett, a Year 9 pupil, retrieved her suitcase before then getting in the car with her mum to head home.

She said despite the shock, she sympathised with the people found inside the coach.

“I can’t really blame them,” she added.

“They’re probably just trying to get a better life.

“I think it is important to be respectful because obviously we don’t really know their background and they could be coming from a war-torn country or something.”

Hampshire police confirmed that officers attended but that no arrests were made.

A force spokesperson said: “We were called just before 05:15pm on Saturday, February 10, to reports that two people, who were possibly illegal immigrants, had been found at Hounsdown School in Totton.

“Officers have attended. No arrests have been made.”

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