Mum Managed To Travel To Belgium And Back With Daughter's Passport
A mum went on a booze cruise to Belgium and back on her daughter's passport - despite there being a 28-year age gap between the pair.
There will probably be two very different thoughts here - a mother, absolutely delighted that she could pass off as her daughter. And a daughter, utterly gobsmacked with the situation.
It was Anita Turner, 58, who used her daughter Rebecca's passport three times to travel past Border Force officials.
She handed the 30-year-old's documentation over and was waved through, even though Rebecca was just 23 in the snap.
Staff failed to spot that the woman in the photograph wasn't the mum-of-two approaching 60 in front of them.
Anita, who was travelling abroad with five close friends on a day trip, said she only realised the mistake at the Port of Dover in Kent when collecting her tickets.
But she said she decided to continue and see if Border Force officials - tasked with the difficult job of halting illegal migrants heading for England - would notice the discrepancies in age or name.
Incredibly, Anita was allowed to board the 9.25am ferry to Calais on January 19 before driving on to Adinkerke in western Belgium to stock up on cut-price alcohol and cigarettes.
On the return journey, the same day, blundering officials again failed to spot the invalid document when she flashed it twice - at check-in and passport control.
The mum-of-two says she is appalled at the lack of security and slammed lax staff for not checking properly. She said: "We went down to the docks in the morning.
Anita said: "My friend noticed I had the wrong passport when she was about to hand them over to a woman in the booth in order to get our tickets. I thought that would be the end of the trip, I felt awful because I was the driver.
"But I decided to go ahead even though I knew I wouldn't get through. But incredibly, the woman accepted it and just told us which lane to get into."
Anita, of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, said she was certain that she would be caught on the way back into England.
She said: "When we were coming home, I pulled up at the dock and my friend handed over the passports again and everything was okay at the first checkpoint. But then we went to the second one and I thought it would get picked up.
"So I got there, and the man asked us to wind down our windows so he could see everyone. He took all our passports and read out everyone's name and had a look at us. When he got to my passport, I didn't really want to answer when he said Rebecca.
"I said 'yes' and he looked at my photo then he looked at me and then he started doing something in his booth. But then he just told us which lane to get into. We couldn't believe it."
The mum-of-two, who is self-employed, said she couldn't believe officials had failed to notice the difference between her and Rebecca.
She said: "We didn't think I'd get away with it at all. It's made a mockery of this country that this can happen so easily. What is the world coming too if I can get through on my daughters' passport? I'm 59 years old in March."
In November, a staggering report concluded that illegal immigrants were exploiting staff shortages at southern England's sea ports, including Dover.
A report by David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, concluded ports were 'not secured by any stretch of the imagination'.
Managers at Southampton, Dover, Poole and Portsmouth admitted they were understaffed in 2017-18.
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said urgent improvements were needed to ensure border security was tightened up. He added: "This worrying incident underlines why we must invest in modernising our borders.
"We need world class technology capable of ensuring we properly check everyone who is coming in and out of the country. If our borders are not water-tight, criminals will do everything they can to exploit it."
A Home Office spokesman said: "Border Force officers are rigorously trained to prevent those using fraudulent documents from entering the country.
"Our officers are also involved in the training of airline staff and immigration officers overseas to spot false documents to stop people from even beginning their journey to the UK.
"Between April 2010 and December 2018 more than 159,000 people were refused entry to the UK, including those refused for travelling on invalid documentation."
Featured Image Credit: Triangle News