Government efforts to stop migrants boarding trucks in Calais to enter Britain illegally “must only be the start”, the Chairman of Parliament’s All-Party Freight Transport Group has insisted.

Rob Flello spoke after Home Secretary Theresa May announced measures designed to tackle a crisis which has seen authorities at the French port thwart more than 8,000 attempts by migrants to enter the UK in just the last three weeks alone.

The measures include establishing a secure waiting area for up to 230 lorries and the deployment of 90 officers to a taskforce attempting to stop traffickers smuggling migrants to Europe from North Africa.

Mr Flello said: “I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement (July 14) on steps to tackle the migrant crisis in Calais and what has and is being done to help the security personnel there – but it is still not enough.

“There needs to be more security personnel to manage the estimated 5,000 migrants now in camps near the town, settlements which are growing due to arrival of up to 150 people every day.”

The Labour MP, a member of Parliament’s Transport Select Committee, added: “There also needs to be increased surveillance and interception of the criminal gangs who are trafficking the migrants for monetary reasons in a form of modern-day slavery.”

Mr Flello spoke after John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs at Eurotunnel, told the All-Party Freight Transport Group that truckers queueing at Calais were being subject to increasingly targeted attacks by criminal gangs.

He said that the migrants were also attempting to break into the terminal and jump onto moving trains, leading, tragically, to two deaths and several serious injuries in recent weeks despite Eurotunnel having invested €150 million in increased security measures in Coquelles since the start of the century.

The gangs have recently targeted long queues of lorries which have formed on the French motorways due to strike action by French workers protesting at Eurotunnel’s sale of the ferry company, MyFerryLink, to the Danish firm DFDS.

Mr Flello, who represents Stoke-on-Trent South, said: “Whilst it is EU policy that migrants should be processed in the first country in which they arrive, this is clearly not happening.

“And the current procedure at Calais in which apprehended migrants are released 2km away without being processed is nonsensical.

“All migrants living in the camps near Calais and those apprehended attempting to enter the UK illegally must be fully documented and either relocated back to the country they are from or be processed as a refugee if that is the case.”

The MP welcomed the announcement of the new secure lorry zone, which is due to open in the autumn, but demanded more details about its security arrangements and called for action further afield in response to changing tactics by the people traffickers.

He also welcomed the Home Secretary’s offer to host an international event about best practice in lorry security but urged this to happen without delay.