The Sun is “investigating concerns” over a story it ran on Saturday claiming a freelance reporter was able to travel undetected from Turkey to France.
The story has been taken down from the newspaper’s website after the Croatian government cast doubt on the claims of the freelance reporter.
According to The Guardian, the Croatian interior ministry said Emile Ghessen’s documents had been checked both when he entered and exited the country.
The ITV News website also last week reported on the “easy” passage of Emile Ghessen, who it said travelled from the Iraq/Syria border on a rubber boat to Turkey and then through to Paris with fake paperwork.
The Sun, which gave Ghessen a joint byline in a double-page spread on Saturday headlined '6 DAYS TO TERROR', went in to more detail and described how he travelled through countries including Croatia, Serbia, Germany and Austria.
In the story, Ghessen's account of travelling through Croatia said:
I jump on a €35 coach which takes seven hours up to the Croatian border…
The coach moves off again in the early hours before we reach a train station where refugees are being processed one by one.
I take my chances and go to the regular station to buy a one-way ticket to Croatian city Zagreb.
I expect to be hauled off by police but am left alone to board. The train stops about a mile into the journey and border officers come on to check passports.
But I hide in the toilets, leaving the door unlocked so it looks unoccupied.
After a tense wait I hear the cops leave the train and we move off. I arrive in Zagreb four hours later and spend the night in a hostel…
I take a series of trains up to Paris, dodging the guards on the way.
According to The Guardian, the Croatian authorities said they checked Ghessen's passport at Tovarnick, near the Serbia border, and then again at Pleso aiport, near Zagreb. The Sun story made no mention of a flight.
The story has been taken down from The Sun’s website but a tweet from the title’s Twitter account remains live.
A spokesman for the newspaper said: “The Sun is currently investigating concerns that have been raised about this story.
“The journalist concerned is not a member of The Sun’s staff but a freelance documentary maker, whose work has been used by national broadcasters, newspapers and websites.”
Press Gazette has also attempted to contact the freelance involved.