A farmer is taking the battle against illegal immigrants into his own hands - by catching them on his land.
Chris Gadsden, 60, said the problem has gone way beyond Britain’s ports to the very heart of the countryside, and in just the last month he has caught more than 50 of them.
Acting as a one-man patrol he captures suspected stowaways on his farm in Toddington, Beds., which is just 400 yards north of the M1.
He has even caught a man hiding in a drain and has been forced to brandish a shotgun and tie up people for his own protection before handing them over to officials.
Chris said illegal immigrants flee from the lorries at the Toddington Services on the northbound carriageway of the motorway - one of the first stops for truckers coming from the Port of Dover.
Chris, who keeps animals on his ten acres, is separated from Toddington services by three cornfields, where he has permission to hunt and walk his dogs.
Chris, a father-of-four is dubbed ‘The Farminator’, said: “It’s been going on for years now.
“They have been invading our privacy and I’m proud to have done something about it.”
Speaking to The Sun, he said: “I’ve been finding them for years.
“But it’s gone mad recently. There’s been hundreds of them, and they’re just the ones I’ve seen.
“There’s supposed to be a system in place to stop them sneaking in but it obviously isn’t working, so I have to do what I can.
“It’s not a race thing. My problem is they’re sneaking in and breaking our laws.
“If anyone, no matter where they’re from, was trespassing on my property I’d react the same.
“It feels like the authorities have lost control of the situation in Calais - and now they’re in danger of the same thing happening hundreds of miles away in Bedfordshire.”
Police admit the number of detainees stopped in the area has trebled since last year and officers.
This time last year 23 illegal immigrants were found on average per month compared to 67 which were found last month - and already more than 40 this month.
Chris also told The Sun: “I go and look for them. It’s frightening not knowing who’s out there and what their intentions are.
“I take the dogs and they generally sniff them out. They put their hands up and say, ‘Police,’ or usually, ‘London’.
“They’re usually more frightened of me and I know how to look after myself.
“But there was one Vietnamese fella the dogs found hiding in a drain. He was cowering and came out with his hands above his head,
“There was something suspicious about him so I tied the dog rope round his hands and took him back to the house.
“I’ve put them in my van before and driven them round to police.
“But most of them just sit in the garden and wait for officers to arrive.
“We give them a drink and something to eat.
“They’re leaving their country for a reason. I don’t like to see anyone in need. I have some sympathy for them.
“I want them to do it the right way. There’s a system and it’s being abused.”
Chris recalled how on May 30 suspected illegals turned up at his house apparently looking for someone.
He added: “That’s the only time I’ve really felt intimidated. They were all trying to push past me, so I went inside and got my gun.
“They got the message pretty quickly and cleared off.”
This month he has tackled six suspected Afghans on his land.
On Tuesday Chris helped cops nab six Vietnamese stowaways, including the man in his 20s who was found hiding in a drain.
And on Thursday he helped catch more than 30 suspected Somalians after his wife Lianne, 57, spotted them on her dog walk.
There are estimated to be as many as 3,500 immigrants in detention at any one time in the UK.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Superintendent David Boyle said the force had received more help recently from worried residents.
He said: “Public awareness is growing which has led to an increase in reporting from lorry drivers and residents who are being vigilant.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We continue to strengthen border security to stop illegal migrants entering the UK in the first place.”