Road signs at the Kent border welcoming drivers to the “Garden of England” have been defaced by anti-Brexit protesters to label the county the “Toilet of England”.
A group called EU Flag Mafia said they had used “scissors and stickers” to transform dozens of signs at 27 entry roads across the 90-mile county border.
The protest – a reference to the likelihood of gridlock on carriageways due to Brexit leading to stranded motorists taking desperate measures by the roadside – came as lorry traffic was brought to a standstill for the second time in a week on the approach road to Eurotunnel and the port of Dover.
An EU Flag Mafia spokesperson said: “It is utter madness. Just this week they tested the border controls at Dover and there were tailbacks as far as the eye could see. There were even headlines about it in the New York Times. We are an international laughing stock. Something has to be done: there are already bottles of urine thrown in laybys and bags of excrement hanging off trees. It is all set to get much worse. People around here have had enough.”
The five-mile queues to Dover earlier this week were blamed on a French rehearsal of Brexit checks. Friday’s jams were put down to a combination of “Christmas and Brexit stockpiling”, according to Eurotunnel sources, and a reduced ferry service due to Covid.
Kent police apologised to road users on Friday:
Apologies for delays, we are currently managing the approach to the Channel Tunnel on the M20 from Jct 11. Rolling roads are implemented for yours and our colleagues safety. Thank you for your patience #Apologies DS pic.twitter.com/ooOzcU59vh
— Kent Police RPU (@kentpoliceroads) November 27, 2020
Sources said traffic was heavier than normal because of the number of trucks returning to the continent. They had been delivering stockpiles to British customers before custom declarations apply from 1 January.
The queues offer a glimpse of what could transpire in January when checks on both the UK and French sides are introduced, whether or not there is a trade deal.
France will introduce a suite of controls, including tests for regulatory compliance and food safety, and immigration and customs checks, while the UK has decided to phase in measures over six months to mitigate against estimated queues of up to 7,000 trucks in Kent.
The prospect of long Brexit queues in Dover is also concerning hauliers of goods between Ireland and the continent, who fearthey could be caught in the Brexit queues.
On Friday the Danish shipping company DFDS announced it would launch a daily service from a port in Wexford in Ireland to Dunkirk in France to get around the Brexit chaos.
Watch: UK and EU continue talks in London