ILLEGAL immigrants tried to smuggle themselves into the country – by hiding in the shells of Roll-Royce cars.
The nine men were discovered by a sniffer dog at Calais Port, in a German lorry headed for the luxury car maker in Goodwood, near Chichester.
The men – all from the African country of Eritrea – were then handed over to the French border police and the lorry was allowed to continue on to its destination in West Sussex.
However, the German driver and the haulage company now each face a potential fine of up to £2,000 per stowaway if they are unable to prove they took steps to secure the vehicle properly.
Stephen Fabman-Beker, from the south of England Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, said: ‘Well, they’ve certainly got good taste.
‘It does make you wonder how they got in.
‘The only thing the Germans make is the shell, the skeleton. There’s no interior or panels.
‘I very much hope they haven’t been messing about and damaged anything.’
A spokesman for Rolls-Royce – which produces some of the world’s most expensive and luxurious cars which can set buyers back more than £300,000 – confirmed the lorry was heading to the Goodwood factory.
But they declined to comment further and said the matter was dealt with in France.
The immigrants were found at 7.20am on February 15, but the details have only just been released.
Mandy Jones, UK Border Agency deputy director for south and Europe said: ‘This incident shows why we base UK Border Agency staff in France – to stop would-be illegal immigrants before they can reach the UK.
‘Our strong presence in French ports like Calais helps protect the whole of the UK from people attempting to enter the country illegally.
‘As well as using sniffer dogs, officers also use heartbeat detectors and carbon dioxide probes and physical searches to find people hiding in vehicles.’