A British mother managed to pass three separate security checks during a trip to Belgium after mistakenly picking up her daughter’s passport.
Anita Turner said she was shocked she managed to use the document for her booze run, despite looking nothing like the picture.
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Anita, who was travelling abroad with close friends on a day trip, said she only realised her mistake when she got to the Port of Dover, Kent.
Anita Turner, 58, used daughter Rebecca’s passport three times to travel past Border Force officials (Picture: Triangle News)
But she decided to continue and see if Border Force officials would notice the discrepancies in age or name.
Incredibly she got waved through on daughter Rebecca’s documents in both the UK and Belgium,
The mother-of-two said she was shocked by the lack of security, which comes as an official report said migrants were exploiting Border Force staff shortages.
Anita, 58, said: ‘We went down to the docks in the morning.
‘My friend noticed I had the wrong passport when she was about to hand them over to a woman in the booth in order to get our tickets.
‘I thought that would be the end of the trip, I felt awful because I was the driver.
‘But I decided to go ahead even though I knew I wouldn’t get through.
‘But incredibly, the woman accepted it and just told us which lane to get into.’
Anita managed to travel after mistakenly picking up her daughter’s document (Picture: Triangle News)
The group boarded the 9.25am ferry to Calais on January 19 before driving on to Adinkerke in western Belgium to stock up on cut-price alcohol and cigarettes.
On the return journey on the same day at 3.20pm, blundering officials again failed to spot the invalid document when she flashed it twice – at check-in and passport control.
Anita, of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, said she was certain that she would be caught on the way back into England.
She said: ‘When we were coming home, I pulled up at the dock and my friend handed over the passports again and everything was okay at the first checkpoint.
‘But then we went to the second one and I thought it would get picked up.
‘So I got there, and the man asked us to wind down our windows so he could see everyone.
‘He took all our passports and read out everyone’s name and had a look at us.
‘When he got to my passport, I didn’t really want to answer when he said Rebecca.
‘I said yes and he looked at my photo then he looked at me and then he started doing something in his booth.
‘But then he just told us which lane to get into. We couldn’t believe it.’
Anita and her daughter Rebecca, who have a 28-year age gap (Picture: Triangle News)
Anita, who is self-employed, said she couldn’t believe officials had failed to notice the difference between her and Rebecca, 30.
She said: ‘We didn’t think I’d get away with it at all.
‘It’s made a mockery of this country that this can happen so easily.
‘What is the world coming too if I can get through on my daughters’ passport?
‘I’m 59 years old in March.’
Anita was on a booze cruise to Belgium, after departing from the Port of Dover (Picture: AFP)
A recent report by David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, concluded ports were ‘not secured by any stretch of the imagination’.
Managers at Southampton, Dover, Poole and Portsmouth admitted they were understaffed in 2017-18.
The 85-page document said that over-stretched Border Force officials were not routinely checking car boots and back seats for stowaways.
The number of illegal immigrants detected at the ports has fallen from 1,119 in 2016-17 to 882 in 2017-18, including a drop from 792 to 503 at Dover.
This has been partly attributed to the clearance of the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said urgent improvements were needed to ensure border security was tightened up.
He said: ‘This worrying incident underlines why we must invest in modernising our borders.
‘We need world class technology capable of ensuring we properly check everyone who is coming in and out of the country.
‘If our borders are not water-tight, criminals will do everything they can to exploit it.’
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Border Force officers are rigorously trained to prevent those using fraudulent documents from entering the country.
‘Our officers are also involved in the training of airline staff and immigration officers overseas to spot false documents to stop people from even beginning their journey to the UK.
‘Between April 2010 and December 2018 more than 159,000 people were refused entry to the UK, including those refused for travelling on invalid documentation.’