Six Iranian suspected illegal immigrants rescued from back of lorry off M27 near Fareham

Six suspected illegal immigrants were found in the back of a lorry near junction 11 of the M27.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 8:27 am
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 5:36 pm

Police received a call from one of the group who reported that they were ‘trapped’ in the back of a lorry outside Fareham at 5am this morning.

Emergency services initially believed the incident to be a road traffic incident due to caller’s first language not being English, with the police using the mobile phone signal to find the lorry on a lay-by on the A27 approach to Fareham.

The migrants – four men and two children – were rescued from the back of a lorry carrying fruit and vegetables in crates from Spain, leaving the migrants ‘tucked in small gaps’ between the crates, according to a firefighter at the scene.

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The lorry was found on the A27 approach to Fareham, near junction 11 of the M27.

The firefighter from Fareham Fire Station, Watch Manager Farr, said: ‘The person speaking on the phone didn’t speak any English. They told the operator they were trapped in the back of a lorry. This made the operator think they were involved in a road traffic incident.

‘It took the police almost an hour to find the lorry.’

‘The immigrants were tucked into very small gaps between the crates.’

‘After they were found, we got our ladders to help them climb out of the lorry.’

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Police arrested the men, aged 19, 23, 24 and 46, on suspicion of entering the UK illegally and referred them to Immigration Enforcement. They presented themselves as Iranian nationals. The status of both children is yet to be confirmed.

A spokesman from the Home Office said: ‘Three men have been interviewed by immigration officers and one minor was transferred into the care of social services.

‘All the cases will be dealt with according to the immigration rules.’

The adults and children were found in ‘a cold and hungry’ state, according to a spokesman from South Central Ambulance Service, but were ‘otherwise medically fit.’

The spokesman said: ‘We sent two ambulances, a paramedic team leader in a rapid response vehicle and our Hazardous Area Response Team to the location.’

The paramedic teams attended the scene alongside fire crews from fire stations in Portchester, Cosham, and Fareham.