Channel Tunnel shut as explosive experts investigate suspicious vehicle

Police said incident is not linked to the ongoing hunt for former British soldier Daniel Khalife

Traffic queuing for the Channel tunnel at Folkestone in 2022. PA
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Army explosive experts were called in to inspect a suspicious vehicle in the Channel Tunnel on Friday, creating additional delays for travellers as the hunt for a former British soldier suspected of terrorism offences continues.

One man was arrested after the incident, which police said is not linked to the search for Daniel Khalife, who went missing from HMP Wandsworth in London on Wednesday.

“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,” police said.

According to reports, the vehicle was stopped during a routine security check at about 10.30am.

Le Shuttle, which operates trains that carry vehicles through the tunnel between England and France, said access to its terminal was suspended and services were likely to be severely disrupted.

Security services are carrying out enhanced checks at UK departure points in an effort to find the escaped prisoner, which had already resulted in delays at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Kent.

Police said in a separate statement that two junctions on the motorway that leads to the terminal had been closed as a result of the enhanced checks.

Passengers leaving from UK airports and ports have also experienced longer wait times since Wednesday as a result of the search.

Mr Khalife, 21, is believed to have escaped by slipping out of the prison kitchen where he was working and strapping himself to the bottom of a grocery delivery van.

Police closed Richmond Park in south-west London while a search was carried out for him in the early hours of Friday. It was paused overnight but resumed at daylight.

Mr Khalife was awaiting trial for allegedly planting a fake bomb at an RAF base and gathering information that might be useful to terrorists or enemies of the UK.

He is also facing accusations that he passed information to Iran, according to reports.

Updated: September 08, 2023, 2:15 PM