Teachers fought off three armed illegal immigrants who were trying to sneak on to a school bus returning to Britain from France.
The masked gang targeted the coach with 43 Scottish teenagers on board as it stopped for petrol 20 miles outside Calais. The men, wielding a knife, a wooden club and a fire extinguisher, were spotted by staff as they attempted to climb inside the luggage hold. Three teachers from Annan Academy near Dumfries dragged them away from the bus, while two others on board called the police. The school party of 15 -16 year olds had been visiting the First World War battlefields of the Somme when the incident happened during the easter holidays. Frank Davis, rector of the academy, praised the bravery of his staff on the return to school yesterday, sayin: “The teachers who were on the trip are very, very experienced and were able to sort out the situation with there being no risk to the pupils on the coach. “The illegal immigrants who had tried to get in the hold actually came back to apologise after the police were called. “There were five teachers on the trip, two of them stayed on the coach and three were off the coach. “The young people were kept on the bus and they were safe at all times. The police were called but the staff decided to get on their way to Calais to get back to the UK.” Mr Davis added that there may now be a review of the risk assessments carried out before similar trips take place. An eye-witness told police: “There were three migrants trying to get in but another 15 or 20 of them waiting in the bushes. “The teachers took no chances and pulled one of them out of the boot and away from the bus. “One of the gang pulled out a knife and another had a piece of wood. One was threatening to spray a fire extinguisher in the teachers’ faces. The teachers kept on telling them to go away and the police were called. “I don’t think they were expecting to be confronted the way they were. After that, the gang seemed to calm down and actually apologised.” The incident happened less than a week after three other illegal immigrants tried to sneak into Britain by hiding on top of the gearbox of a school coach with 53 pupils on board. Sniffer dogs spotted the stowaways as the bus from Hornchurch, Essex, was about to enter the Channel Tunnel in Calais. The Sudanese men, in their 20s, were arrested and detained after being found clinging to the chassis at rear of the bus.