France has lodged a furious protest with Belgium after two police officers from there drove a group of illegal migrants across the border into French territory.
The incident began in Belgium on Tuesday when a driver alerted police after hearing noises in the back of his truck.
The migrants were apparently trying to get to Calais.
Despite sparking a diplomatic row, the local police chief of Ypres appeared unrepentant.
“The two policemen took them in their van because they did not want them to be walking directly on the road all the way to the border,’‘ George Aeck said.
During the drop off the two Belgium officers were immediately stopped by French police and taken in for questioning.
Another senior police officer from Ypres, Luc Deryckere, said: ‘‘Of course, our French colleagues had many questions about why those people were being dropped off there. I fully understand that they were taken to the police station where it’s easier to sort things out. This may be perceived differently.”
The incident reportedly resulted in France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve phoning his Belgian counterpart Jan Jambon.
Cazeneuve is also said to have had a ‘‘frank and clear’‘ exchange with Belgium’s ambassador to France over the affair