HORDES of Arab migrants were huddled in camps in Paris last night – poised to flood into the UK to live on state benefits.
Nearly 1,000 North Africans are sleeping rough in parks waiting for the chance to slip across the Channel.
There are fears that it has the makings of a new Sangatte – the notorious French asylum seekers’ camp that turned into a gateway to Britain for thousands.
Refugee … Lamloum
Tunisian and Libyan refugees who fled bloody revolutions in their home countries are clustered in an area of the French capital dubbed Little Tripoli.
The migrants will pay people smugglers up to £1,000 a time to sneak them into the UK. They expect to make the money back within weeks by scrounging off state handouts.
And they believe the British Government – which backed the uprisings in Tunisia and Libya – will welcome them with open arms.
A 22-year-old Tunisian called Ali said: “Britain is like paradise. Friends who have already made it into Britain have told me about the riches you can make there without working.
“I hear the British benefits system is generous. Britain supported our revolution so we will be more than welcome there.”
His countryman Noureddine Bouzoumta, 30, said: “There is nothing for us in France. I sleep outside. I hear the Government in Britain gives money. I want to go to England. I will be rich. I will receive benefits.
“We have heard about your Alex Ferguson, your Ryan Giggs, your Peter Crouch, your cities of London and Manchester, your hospitality.”
Squalid … mattresses where migrants sleep by rail lines
The men’s hopes echo those of migrants in the Sangatte camp near the Channel Tunnel outside Calais.
Train operator Eurostar claimed its workers caught 18,500 people trying to sneak into Britain in the first six months of 2001 alone – around 100 a night. It closed after riots.
One of the biggest migrant camps in Paris is at the Porte de Vilette near the Gare du Nord Eurostar Terminal – two hours from Kent.
Visa-less migrants, mostly men in their 20s and 30s, huddle together on mattresses beside the rail tracks. Some build makeshift shacks out of cardboard.
Hope … Bouzoumta
Many plan to take a train to Calais then try to sneak into the UK in the backs of lorries.
Meanwhile the migrants lead desperate lives, barely surviving on charity food handouts. French cops arrested more than 100 of them yesterday and warned them they will be kicked out of France.
The asylum seekers were accused of breaching residency laws and urged to move to another country – such as Britain.
More than 3,000 migrants, mainly Tunisians, have been arrested in France since the Arab revolts erupted this year.
But the flood of migrants is unlikely to stop while the dream of benefits, housing and earnings from the black economy continues to lure them to the UK.
Migrants from Libya and Tunisia pay gangs 1,000 Euros (£890) to get them to Lampedusa, an Italian island off North Africa.
They claim asylum and then are transported to the Italian mainland and encouraged to head to France.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to do all he can to get rid of the migrants, accusing Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi of allowing them to enter France in the first place.
Notorious … Sangatte camp
Ramzi Lamloum, 26, from Tripoli, said he expected more Libyans to join him.
He said: “At the moment there are more Tunisians than Libyans here. The revolution in Tunisia started before the one in Libya so this could be a reason.
“England is a good country. We can make money there.”
Tunisian Abdul Saidi, 34, said: “There is no doubt that we would like to go to England.
Route … migrants’ path
“The smugglers charge a lot of money. The risks are big but they can be worth it if we can make the money back.
“People are well treated in England. We will be more welcome there.”
Nizar Tayeb, 23, another Tunisian, said: “We aren’t welcome in France. The police are always asking for papers.
“We thought because we speak French we would be welcome.
“In Britain we are heroes.“