Their behaviour is extremely anti-social so Sarko can hardly be blamed

Hundreds of Roma will be expelled from France on Thursday as part of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s summer clampdown on members of the minority living illegally in the country. “In all, around 700 Roma will be taken back to their countries before the end of the month,” said Brice Hortefeux, the interior minister.

So far, police have dismantled 51 illegal Roma camps, he said, adding that two flights would take the Roma to Romania and Bulgaria on August 19 and 26, with a third flight set for the end of September.

President Sarkozy’s government has in recent weeks launched a major and controversial crackdown on France’s Roma, gipsy and traveller minorities, closing unauthorised camps and expelling foreign-born Roma from the country.

Last month, following a clash between Gypsies and police, Mr Sarkozy announced a raft of new stringent security measures, including plans to dismantle 300 unauthorised campsites within three months.

Critics have accused the French leader of stigmatising travelling minorities in a bid to recover votes lost to the anti-immigration far-Right in time for his re-election battle in 2012.

Last week a UN report said France was experiencing “a significant resurgence of racism” and lacked the political will to fix the problem. But opinion polls show most French voters approve of the measures.

There are estimated to be 15,000 Gypsies and Roma of eastern European origin in France. Some live in authorised encampments, and others have moved into squatter camps or abandoned buildings.