Eurotunnel services suspended as Army explosive experts called to suspicious vehicle

Travel has been “severely disrupted” at the Channel Tunnel after a suspicious vehicle was intercepted by police.

Explosives experts from the British Army were called to the tunnel around 10.30am, and all services were suspended as they investigated the vehicle.

A man was arrested after the vehicle was stopped and he was later released after being interview by Kent Police.

Police said a thorough examination was carried out of the vehicle and it was deemed not to pose a risk to public safety.

The forced added today’s events are not being linked to the ongoing search for terror suspect Daniel Khalife who escaped prison on Wednesday.

Passengers were left stranded in their cars in what was one of the hottest days of the year, before Le Shuttle announced later in the afternoon that services could resume.

Customers were advised to check the LeShuttle website and social media for the latest travel information.

Lorries queue for the Port of Dover along the M20 near Ashford in Kent as security checks are carried out at the port by police hunting for escaped terrorist suspect Daniel Khalife (Photo: PA)

A spokesperson for Kent Police 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.”

Travellers have told how they were left queuing in their cars outside the terminal for up to 7 hours and complained that Eurotunnel staff gave them no updates.

Nick Pitts told i that he and his wife Naomi was stuck near the front of a queue to get into the terminal from 7am today until 2.10pm when staff told them they had to get them out of the area due to the police incident.

He said: ”I am sure they have policies in place [to deal with incidents] but they had no communication today.

”On one of the hottest days of the year, you are waiting on the tarmac on the approach to the terminal with no communication.

Mr Pitts, who works as a content director, was travelling on Eurotunnel as the couple are due to attend a family member’s wedding tomorrow.

The pair decided to booked a ferry to Belgium from Folkstone after they were evacuated from the terminal, as they are due go to a family member’s wedding in the country tomorrow, and fear they would miss it because of the train delays.

One person said: “We’re about 500 metres from customer check-in and there’s toilets and water at the freight check. We’ve been here nearly two hours now and were told by staff it’ll be another 2 hours likely.”

Another wrote: “Apparently at least another two hours staff have said to some people. “

Other people have complained they have been stuck on trains and operator Le Shuttle have not been given them updates.

One X user said: “Any chance of letting passengers know via your display boards on the approaches and by the UK barriers as to why we’re sitting with engines off, not going anywhere with no-on in any of the booths? Just a customer service thing…”

Before services were suspended, there were already delays at the Channel Tunnel terminal as a result of checks by security services searching for Khalife.

Eurotunel released a statement at 3.50pm saying that the “incident is now over and traffic can once again access the terminal”.

A music gig planned in Belgium has been cancelled due to delays at the terminal.

Kids of the Elephant and Young Gun Silver Fox and were scheduled to play at Viernulvier, in Ghent.

Young Gun Silver Fox wrote: “It is with huge regret that we have to postpone tonight’s Young Gun Silver Fox show at VIERNULVIER in Ghent, Belgium.

“This is due to the closure of the Eurotunnel as a result of a high risk security alert.

“Currently the Eurotunnel are not able to advise what time they will reopen the route for travel so the band are not able to cross the channel until further notice.”

Police told how two junctions on the motorway which leads to the terminal had been closed as a result of the enhanced checks.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.