Holidaymakers returning from France were horrified to find a young stowaway had sneaked into the country – inside their car roof box.
Lawyer Simon Fenton had spent August away in Dordogne with his wife Sally, both 57, and their dog, hiking and cycling through the French countryside.
After their hard-earned break, the pair checked into a hotel in Calais before sailing back to Dover.
The following day, when they finally returned home to Newbury, Berkshire, the couple were shocked see the sole of a shoe sticking out the side of the roof box.
Stunned Simon admitted: “It took us a few moments to realise there would be a foot.”
Simon claimed the stowaway – thought to be around 17 years old and from Egypt – had taken expensive shoes, a dog bed and their camera from the roof box.
He said: “I suddenly heard my wife scream from outside as she went back to the car. So I jumped up and ran outside, where we looked at this shoe sole sticking out the side of the roof box for a bit. Then it dawned on us that there must be a foot attached, at which point the car started moving and we could hear someone inside it. He spoke bits of Dutch and German, and we managed to gleam from him that he was about 17, from Egypt, and had raided our roof box to climb in. We kept him at bay while I called the police – who had to wrench the box open with a crowbar. They actually told us – ‘Stand back, he might have a gun’. Needless to say, the roof box was completely damaged. We’d also spent a fortune on shoes – sandals, evening shoes, boots – for the trip, and we had the camera and the dog bed all in there. And he and his friends had stolen them so he could get into this country. We still don’t know how he managed to actually fit in the box, though. We’d have felt him move around on the motorway.” He added: “The worst part is that when he was taken away by the police, he was smirking. He looked really proud of himself.”
Thames Valley Police confirmed it was called at around 3pm on August 31 to “reports of a person in a roof box” on Simon’s car.
A spokesperson added: “Officers attended and a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of immigration offences. The investigation is now being dealt with by immigration officials.”