Tickets are being bought for the Eurostar without any checks – and passengers can continue to the UK
The loophole on the Eurostar allows foreigners to board a train within Europe without showing any ID, before travelling on to Lille in France.
And as they travel onwards to Britain, which is not in the Schengen zone, passports are rarely ever checked, an investigation found.
Trains between Brussels and Lille do not require ID after the visa-free travel arrangements were implemented, although anyone travelling on to Britain should be stopped under the regulations.
France and Belgium, as well as 26 European states, and a few non-European, have abolished border control under the Schengen agreement, allowing visa-free travel.
In 2011 what is known as the ‘Lille loophole’ was exposed for the first time leading to a clampdown by Eurostar and the UK Border Agency.
Passengers who have not shown a passport can end up in the UK – it is claimed
It was insisted the flaw had been fixed – yet a Daily Mail investigation found security has broken down again.
One commuter told the paper: “In more than 200 trips on the Eurostar to London, I have only been asked to show my passport about five times.”
The Mail reports a journalist was able to travel between Brussels and London without showing ID by buying a monthly pass and paying just £2.60 a journey – raising the terrifying prospect that people-smugglers could use the pass to buy tickets for terrorists and crooks.
Lib Dem MP John Pugh said: “This loophole threatens our national security. It is the soft underbelly for terrorism.”
Tickets are bought for Lille, in France from Brussels where there have been terror attacks
Immigration requirements are defined and controlled by the relevant authorities in each country that we operate in, and we work very closely with these authorities
Eurostar said every country the service operates in works together and security guards ensure all passengers making the Brussels-Lille journey travel in a separate carriage.
The company insisted those who are ticketed only to Lille are made to disembark there.
Eurostar said: “Immigration requirements are defined and controlled by the relevant authorities in each country that we operate in, and we work very closely with these authorities to ensure that our services operate within their legislation.
“For passengers travelling between Brussels and Lille, the authorities have put a special arrangement in place.
“This allows Brussels-Lille passengers to travel in a separate coach controlled by security guards, who then ensure that all of these passengers disembark at Lille before the train goes on to the UK.
“For the 5.56pm train, which is the most popular commuter service, the border authorities have chosen to operate a slightly different process whereby the train is only bookable by season-ticket holders who do not have to travel in a separate coach.
“This was agreed because they are a defined group with ID and contact details checked when buying their season ticket.
“In addition, the UK border authorities regularly undertake random immigration checks on arrival at London St Pancras.”
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However, a whistleblower said the one-carriage security system is abandoned at peak travel times.
The Home Office said: “Passengers boarding in Brussels travelling to the UK all go through border controls in Brussels.”
In Paris this week hundreds of UK-bound migrants were arriving at a second refugee centre.
The trains travel into the heart of London without passengers being checked – it is claimed
The new £10 million facility, in the southeast suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine, began welcoming families as temperatures dropped to freezing.
The camp is made up of wooden buildings, which are situated in an old waterworks by the River Seine, but will only be a temporary fix for families who are permitted to stay for a few weeks at a time.
Eventually it will be able to accommodate 400 women with children, along with a limited number of couples.