HGV Specialist Solicitors for England and Wales

Our experts can help you keep your Operators Licence

Clandestine Entrants into the UK

If you are a driver or vehicle operator whose operations involve international transport of either a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) or Public Service Vehicle (PSV) you should be aware of the law regarding clandestine entrants into the UK. A clandestine entrant is a person who hides within or on a vehicle to gain entry into the country other than through UK border control. The driver, its hirer or the vehicle’s operator may face fines for carrying clandestine entrants into the country via a sea port or through the Eurotunnel.

Our team of specialist HGV and PSV solicitors can advise on legal issues such as appeals against or objections to fines, contact us today if you or one of your drivers has received a fine.

The Law on Clandestine Entrants

The law regarding clandestine entrants is covered by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and is enforced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) which is responsible for securing UK borders. The UKBA carry out inspections on HGVs and PSVs using technology that can detect clandestine entrants on board.

If you do not secure your vehicle and are caught carrying clandestine entrants into the country you can face a fine, known as a Civil Penalty. Depending on the circumstances the driver of a HGV or PSV, or the vehicle’s operator could face the fine. There are a number of possible defences allowed by the 1999 Act:

• The driver had no reasonable grounds to suspect a clandestine in or on their vehicle
• There was an effective security system in place on the vehicle
• The vehicles security systems working and used properly

Make sure that you seek legal advice if you or one of your drivers has carried a clandestine entrant into the country, the consequences could be costly to you or your road transport business.

Procedure for Clandestine Entrants

A driver must not board transport to the UK or go through UK border control if they know or suspect that there is a clandestine entrant in or on their vehicle. If they do they must inform the border control or police in the country they are leaving. They can also inform the UKBA at the receiving port or station.

If you find or suspect a clandestine entrant in or on your vehicle after entering the UK you should not make contact with them, but immediately contact the local police or UKBA officer. The Police will take the details of the driver and the vehicle operator and inform the UKBA. The UKBA may send letters to the driver and operator asking for information about the security systems in place on the vehicle at the time.

If the UKBA find a clandestine entrant they may interview the driver or vehicle operator about the security systems that were in place on the vehicle. The driver can refuse to be interviewed or leave an interview, but it is in their best interests to take legal advice if they are allowed. The vehicle operator may also be contacted for information.

The information given to the UKBA will determine the level of fine that is issued to a driver or operator. They have a criteria on which to judge each case and apportion a fine which includes:

• The operators record of penalties
• The extent to which the vehicle has been maintained
• The vehicle’s level of security
• The level of cooperation with the authorities

Penalties for Clandestine Entrants

The penalty for a clandestine entrant is a fine from the UKBA of up to £2000 per entrant which can be issued to the driver, vehicle operator, or both. The UKBA will issue a Form IS11 to the driver or operator detailing the amount of fine they must pay. The fine must be paid within 60 days from the date the form was issued, but you are allowed to object or appeal to a fine.

Appealing Against a Fine

As a driver or operator you have the right to appeal or object to a fine. The Form IS11 notifying you of the fine gives details on how you can object to a fine which you must do within 28 days of the fines issue. If you wish to appeal to a County Court against a fine you need to complete a Form N161 and return it within 28 days of its issue.