Three illegal immigrants ended up at a high-security Royal Air Force (RAF) drone base after stowing away in the luggage compartment of a coach from France. The trio were held by police at RAF Waddington on Sunday after jumping from their hiding place.
The three men, aged 22, 26 and 27, are thought to be from Sudan. They were detained near the base guardroom after they emerged from the coach’s luggage compartment. They had been hiding on the coach for the five hours during its 386km (240-mile) journey from France.
“We can confirm that three civilian foreign nationals were detained and handed over to the civilian police,” an RAF spokesman told The Telegraph. “These individuals are believed to have arrived on a coach returning RAF personnel from force development activity in France. Lincolnshire Police are investigating this incident.”
The men had been handed over to immigration authorities. RAF Waddington is home to pilots flying RAF Reaper drones on surveillance and airstrike missions against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants. They have carried out missions in Afghanistan and Syria.
Pilots fly the aircraft remotely via satellite link from cockpit cabins installed in hangars within the base. The high-security facility near Lincoln is also home to reconnaissance, intelligence and surveillance units flying the RAF’s spy planes.
Recently, pilots at RAF Waddington stopped an IS public execution that was taking place 2,000 miles away with a Hellfire missile. While the British military claims the attack prevented a public execution, monitors on the ground say civilians were injured.