Bury St Edmunds rugby coach catches illegal immigrant following trip to France

Bury St Edmunds rugby club coach Andy Herlihy stops illegal Sudanese immigrant from making his escap

Bury St Edmunds rugby club coach Andy Herlihy stops illegal Sudanese immigrant from making his escape. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Rugby players returned home with more than they bargained for following a trip to France.

Bury St Edmunds rugby club coach Andy Herlihy stops illegal Sudanese immigrant from making his escap

Bury St Edmunds rugby club coach Andy Herlihy stops illegal Sudanese immigrant from making his escape. Picture: GREGG BROWN

For the U15s team from Bury St Edmunds rugby club brought back two illegal immigrants.

One was stopped by border police at Calais but the other remained hidden underneath their bus until it arrived back in Suffolk and tried to flee.

But he was stopped as he made his getaway by U15 coach Andy Herlihy outside the clubhouse at the GK IPA Haberden ground, on Southgate Green.

A total of 17 boys had travelled to just outside Le Mans to play Nogent Le Routre Pecherons Rugby Club. And although they lost the match 39-29 the main talking point of the trip was the extra “passengers” they picked up on their way home on Sunday.


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The pair of Sudanese immigrants managed to secrete themselves onto the coach when it stopped for a break on the A16 near Rouen, said the U15 coach Andy Herlihy.

“But when we got back to Bury at 8pm the other one crawled from underneath the coach and tried to get away towards the town,” he said.

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“It happened as everyone was disembarking when were arrived in Bury when he crawled off the bus. He was making his way off and if he had kept going he would have got into town.

“I managed to get in front of him and asked hin to stop. I put my hand on his chest to make sure that he was not going to make a dash for it. He was compliant but was extremely scared and shocked. He was desperate for the toilet.”

Club president Chris Berry was on the trip and said: “It was an unusual way to end an U15 tour and you always like to bring back a momento but not a stowaway on the bus. It was their first proper tour and the stowaway was underneath the wheel arch for more than seven hours from getting on at the services. He was terribly frightened when he got off and said he had been travelling across Europe for six months.”

Mr Herlihy said that when they arrived at the port of Calais the club bus was subject to the usual security checks. The bus seemed to have attracted additional interest and further scrutiny revealed a stowaway.

A would be illegal immigrant was removed from high up in the wheel arch but the drama took a further twist as the team and their parents alighted from the bus in Bury St Edmunds.

Police arrived and arrested a 26-year-old man.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Police were called at around 8.15pm on Sunday to reports that a suspected illegal immigrant had been discovered under a coach at the rugby club.

“The coach had just returned from a trip to France.

“Officers attended and arrested a 26-year-old man who was then taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre from where he was transferred into the custody of immigration enforcement officers.”

The Home Office said: “Immigration Enforcement was contacted by Suffolk police on Monday, April 16, after police officers attended an incident in Southgate Green, Bury St Edmunds. A man who presented himself as a Sudanese national was arrested by police on suspicion of entering the UK illegally. The man was referred to Immigration Enforcement officers and his case will be dealt with according to the immigration rules.”

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