Its OFFICIAL: Migrant camp has been moved from Calais to Folkestone

Ohhhhhh Jereeeeemy Corrrrrbyn! OH WAIT… Ohhhhhh Priiiiiiti Useeeeeless.

This is your ‘Brexit‘ – you voted for this, you voted for these clowns – next time don’t vote for the lesser of two evils, you get everything you deserve.

Save me the “we didn’t know” bullsh*t.

Article from the Daily Mail

They were good enough for our brave soldiers’: Priti slams migrants held at ex-army barracks as they ‘start riot, and torch buildings’ – after being told they would no longer be transferred to hotels after Covid outbreak’ – as police launch arson probe

Priti Patel has tonight slammed the behaviour of migrants being held at a former army barracks, amid reports that a 100-strong group started a riot, torched buildings and threatened staff at the temporary asylum seeker site.

The Home Secretary strongly condemned the unrest at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, and police launched a probe after the disturbance reportedly broke out when migrants were told they would no longer be transferred to hotels following a Covid outbreak.

Ms Patel described the behaviour of those involved as ‘deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country’ and said it was an ‘insult’ to suggest the site, formerly home to British soldiers, was ‘not good enough’ for asylum seekers. 

An arson investigation has been launched by Kent Police after the blaze caused a significant amount of damage to at least one part of the site, where hundreds of asylum seekers have been living – but the fire is now under control as crews stay on site to dampen out remaining hotspots.

Ms Patel promised ‘robust action’ against the instigators, as she summoned a Gold Command meeting of senior officials to discuss the incident this evening.

It comes as dramatic footage from the scene shows large plumes of smoke billowing into the sky above the barracks this afternoon.

Dozens of emergency service workers were at the scene as huge flames engulfed at least one of the buildings. Officers believe the fire was started deliberately but added the incident is not being treated as a riot.

Detective Chief Superintendent Andrew Pritchard said: ‘We are carrying out inquiries and working with partners including the Home Office and Kent Fire and Rescue Service to establish the circumstances surrounding this serious incident and the identities of those who may have been involved.

‘Whilst the exact nature of the disturbance and any potential links to the fire are still being investigated, it would be inaccurate to refer to the disturbance as a riot and it is not being treated as such. There have been no arrests but inquiries are ongoing.’ 

The barracks have been used by the Government to house 400 asylum seekers since September, despite concerns from human rights charities about the conditions.

Around 120 people living within the accommodation – which primarily houses migrants who have crossed the Channel in dinghies from France – have recently tested positive for Covid, according to migrants at the site.

Sources told MailOnline that the asylum seekers who had tested positive for Covid had been moved elsewhere yesterday to ease pressure on the site.

But they say those who remained became ‘angry’ that some had been allowed to leave and a ‘riot’ was started involving around 100 migrants.

Dramatic footage from the scene shows large plumes of smoke billowing into the sky above the barracks this afternoon after a fire broke out in one of the buildings
Photographs from inside the former army barracks in Kent show overturned tables and rubbish and other items strewn across the floor of what appears to be a kitchen area

It is believed the incident began in the dinning room of the facility, where asylum seekers started flipping tables after receiving a letter from operator Clearsprings telling them they would be staying at the barracks and would be locked down for at least 10 days.

Sources said staff were barricaded into a room, although they managed to get free, while windows were smashed and a building was set on fire.  

Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, tonight told MailOnline there was ‘no excuse’ for the incident and said he had been assured by the Home Office that a ‘full police investigation would be launched’.

Meanwhile, Ms Patel labelled the unrest as ‘insulting’, saying: ‘The damage and destruction at Napier barracks is not only appalling but deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country who are providing this accommodation while asylum claims are being processed. 

The barracks have been used by the Government to house 400 asylum seekers since September last year despite concerns about the conditions. Pictured: Groups of people at Napier Barracks after emergency services were called to the incident today
A large group of emergency service personnel, including officers in riot helmets and firefighters in full gear, are at the site this evening following the unrest
Dramatic footage shows Napier barracks, where Government is holding hundreds of migrants in Folkestone, Kent, on fire
People living in the surrounding area are advised to keep their windows closed. Pictured: Medics and police officers on scene
The Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) condemned the unrest, which reportedly broke out after migrants were told they would no longer be transferred to hotels after a Covid outbreak, as 'deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country'

‘This type of action will not be tolerated and the Home Office will support the police to take robust action against those vandalising property, threatening staff and putting lives at risk.

‘This site has previously accommodated our brave soldiers and army personnel – it is an insult to say that it is not good enough for these individuals.’

She added: ‘I am fixing our broken asylum system, and will be bringing forward legislation this year to deliver on that commitment.’

A MailOnline source said that those found to have been involved in the incident could have it used against them by the Home Office in their asylum applications.

Meanwhile, Folkestone MP Damian Collins told MailOnline: ‘There can be no excuse for what has happened there. The fire could have led to loss of life and I would like to thank our emergency services for the way they took charge of the situation.

‘The Home Office have assured me that there will be a full police inquiry into the events at Napier Barracks leading up to the fire, and that those found to be responsible will face criminal charges.’

Migrant charity Care4Calais said the incident had been sparked by an ‘upsetting afternoon’ for those living at the site – which is used as a hostel for single male migrants while their asylum claims are assessed.

Claire Mosley, from the charity, told MailOnline this evening: ‘There was a disturbance in a dining hall in which tables were overturned and some time later another section of the barracks was set alight.

‘There has been a lot of anger at living conditions at Napier, which many migrants have told us are extremely poor.

‘There is also a serious coronavirus outbreak there at the moment.

‘More than 100 migrants were moved off site a few days ago and those left behind were hoping to follow suit however the letter sent to them this morning has effectively ruled out any more transfers.

‘On top of that Clearsprings say they are also making changes to their social bubbles within the blocks where they’ve housed.

‘Understandably this has caused a lot of fear and trepidation that people may end up being grouped together with someone who has Covid.

‘Tension has been rising over the last few weeks and it’s been exacerbated by a lack of communication and transparency.

‘Many of the migrants in the camp have been left in shock at seeing the smoke and flames and now fear the trouble will adversely affect their asylum applications even though they were not involved in any way.’

Others at the scene have said residents staying at the barracks are terrified and likened the area to a ‘war scene’. 

Pictures from the scene show dozens of emergency services in attendance including police and ambulance crews. 

One Napier Barracks resident said that when the fire broke out he saw that one of the accommodation blocks was full of smoke with people inside.

He and some friends tried to get them out but firefighters arrived after around 15 minutes and helped rescue them.

In that time the blaze spread to another building, he said.

‘Everyone is panicked,’ said through a translator, adding that he fears something similar may happen again in future.’

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘We have been called to assist Kent Police at the Napier Barracks in Folkestone, following reports of a fire. Eight fire engines have been sent to the scene.

‘People living and working in the surrounding area are advised to close their windows and doors as a precaution, due to smoke coming from the incident. People are also asked to avoid the area.’

A Kent Police spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We were called to a report of a disturbance at Napier Barracks in Folkestone at around 2pm on Friday 29 January.

 ‘There was also a report of a fire in one part of the building. Officers are at the location, along with Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

‘At this stage there have been no reported injuries and enquiries remain ongoing to determine the cause of the fire and establish whether any offences have been committed.’

Napier Barracks was converted into an asylum seeker hostel after the Home Office secured a one-year deal with the Ministry of Defence to lease the site in September last year.

The site is used to house asylum seekers while their claims are reviewed and was acquired as a temporary measures to allow the Home Office to deal with a backlog of cases.

More than 8,000 migrants crossed the English Channel from France last year – more than four times the number in 2019.

As part of Covid-19 regulations, those being taken to Napier Barracks will have been held in other facilities for at least two weeks. The site also has its own onsite healthcare team, while catering teams provide meals for asylum seekers.

A petition to close the camp in Kent and a similar facility in Wales has racked up more than 18,000 signatures after it was launched a week ago. 

Charities have repeatedly raised concerns about conditions inside Napier Barracks and Penally Barracks in Pembrokeshire since they were taken over by the Home Office last year.

Last week refugee charity Choose Love, who shared an open letter claimed to be signed by 200 migrants inside Napier Barracks, claimed hundred of migrants were suffering similar ‘prison-like’ conditions at Penally Barracks. 

In the open letter to ‘all British citizens’, the migrants of Napier Barracks slammed Home Secretary Priti Patel and Immigration Minister Chris Philp for ‘intentionally ignoring us and trying their best to cover the disaster which is happening in this army camp’. 

The letter added: ‘It is vital to understand that no one choose to leave the country that they born in, no one choose to leave their family and loved ones behind.

‘We came to this country to save our lives. Lives which were mostly in danger because of war and prosecution.

‘Yet we found ourselves in an army camp and we are surrounded by fences and security guards.’ 

Meanwhile Freedom from Torture launched a petition to empty the barracks in Kent and Wales and close them down racked up more than 10,000 signatures in less than two days. 

Kolbassia Haoussou, Lead Survivor Advocate from the UK-based charity, said: ‘We are horrified at the news of a fire at the former army barracks in Folkstone being used to house asylum seekers. We hope all residents, staff and emergency workers are safe.

‘Only today Freedom from Torture and other groups wrote to the Home Secretary to urge her to close the barracks immediately. Nearly 20,000 people have signed our petition to close the camps in the past few days.

‘By mocking the vulnerability of asylum seekers, the Home Secretary would rather shirk responsibility and play politics with people’s lives.

‘Many of the people trapped here suffer from severe mental health issues and low immune systems linked to the abuse they have fled. The camps are unsafe, unsanitary and unfit to house vulnerable people.

‘The government must close the camps now and transfer everyone to safe, Covid-secure accommodation without delay.’

A spokesman for the Kent Refugee Action Network told Kent Online: ‘We don’t yet know exactly what has happened but what we do know is the barracks are unsafe with many cases of Covid being confirmed, and positive cases sharing dorms with those who had tested negative.

‘Those inside were at risk and becoming more and more desperate at the lack of action. It should have already been emptied and closed down.

‘Had the Home Office heeded the calls to act urgently we would not be in this position now.

‘We hope all residents, staff and emergency workers responding to the situation are safe.’

Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, echoed calls to shut the barracks ‘before they are engulfed by tragedy’.

Over the weekend, it emerged that a coronavirus outbreak had ravaged the Kent site with 120 thought to have tested positive. 

A number of migrants were reportedly evacuated from the site this week and taken to alternative accommodation in a bid to control the outbreak.

But some migrants who had been left behind and are still negative claimed they were being forced to share rooms with Covid-positive patients.

There are reports of asylum seekers carrying out hunger strikes in protest against the ‘unbearable conditions in the camp’, which is said to include 34 people sharing one shower.  

A large group of around 50 also chanted ‘freedom’ during a protest holding makeshift signs and painted bedsheets to let their feelings be known. 

There have been further reports of suicide attempts in the Army barracks as mental health among its occupants deteriorates.

Just yesterday charity campaigners poured fake blood near to the entrance to the site as a protest at the alleged treatment of migrants. 

The Home Office, which took over the site last year, insisted the accommodation in Kent is ‘safe, suitable, (and) Covid-compliant’.

At the weekend the department said that a number of asylum seekers were being moved from Napier Barracks ‘temporarily’ into self-isolation facilities.