The Channel Tunnel has been closed and explosives experts have been called in after a suspicious vehicle was intercepted by police on Friday morning.
A man has been detained in connection with the incident, Kent Police said. It is not being linked to the ongoing search for terror suspect Daniel Khalife, who escaped from Wandsworth prison in London on Wednesday.
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.”
How long could the Eurotunnel be closed?
Access to the terminal in Folkestone, Kent, is currently suspended and customers are advised that travel will be “severely disrupted” throughout the afternoon, operator Le Shuttle said.
There has been no official statement on when the tunnel will reopen, but people caught in the delays have posted on social media that Channel Tunnel staff have warned them that travel will be suspended for another two hours.
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 two hours likely.”
Other people have complained they have been stuck on trains and Le Shuttle has not been given them updates.
“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…” Nick Pitts said on X, formerly Twitter.
Before services were suspended, there were already delays at the Channel Tunnel terminal as a result of checks by security services searching for Khalife.
Police told how two junctions on the motorway which leads to the terminal had been closed as a result of the enhanced checks.
What is the latest travel advice?
Le Shuttle says on its website: “Due to a police incident, access to our site in Folkestone is unavailable. Incidents of this nature are extremely rare and we’re grateful for your patience. As a consequence of this incident, travel will be severely disrupted throughout the afternoon, please prepare to modify your travel plans.”
You can find live departure information on Le Shuttle’s website here.