Home » Asylum seekers at RAF base taken on shopping trips after violence breaks out

Asylum seekers at RAF base taken on shopping trips after violence breaks out

Asylum seekers being housed at an RAF base in Essex have been taken on a shopping trip over fears that violence could break out.

Photographs have emerged of asylum seekers boarding a white minibus after being taken on a trip 15 minutes down the road to nearby Braintree from MDP Wethersfield.

The news of the trip comes soon after reports from the airbase said the atmosphere was “horrendous”. Speaking to the Mail, one local resident criticised the decision to take the asylum seekers on a trip into town and claimed it was a “recipe for disaster”.

Marion Parker, 44, said: “What message does it send out to others who want to come here? I’m not against immigration at all.

“This is a reward for breaking immigration law. Why don’t homeless Brits get free trips to shopping centres?”

While some residents were against the trips outside the base, the Home Office made clear that they were allowed to happen. They said: “To minimise the impact on the local services and to ensure the orderly flow of people onto and off the site.

“A regular transport service is in place to take asylum seekers to larger local towns to access amenities and planned voluntary and community activities off-site.”

There have been growing concerns over conditions at the airbase, outside which migrants protested in November because they had no WiFi or money. Footage obtained by the Express showed a group of men shouting “wrong plan, wrong place” outside the centre.

Local organisation the Fields Association is campaigning against the use of the former RAF base to house asylum seekers because of its impact on the village of Wethersfield.

Chairman of the Field Association Tom Clarke-Holland, who has said the protests are ridiculous, recounted the complaints of the occupants housed inside the centre. He said: “‘It’s like a prison here, we’ve got no medicine, we’ve got no wifi, we’ve got no blankets, we’ve got no water’.

“I mean, you name it, it was on the list. Now the reality is, I’ve been over there because the Home Office have been taking groups of local people, businesses or the Fields Association, over there to show what it’s like. It’s like portacabin city over there. It’s quite huge.”

Wethersfield residents who have been inside the base claim to have seen “duvets” and “a little medical centre”.

In a statement following the protest, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “The welfare of individuals at the site is of the utmost priority.

“The Home Office is committed to ending the expensive use of hotels for asylum seekers and working with local authorities to enact the changes.

“We are working closely to listen to the local communities’ views and reduce the impact of these sites, including through providing onsite security and financial support.”