A large group of illegal immigration including children under the age of five were found in the back of a lorry in Portsmouth.
Police discovered a total of 31 people during a raid in Quartremaine Road this morning after tip off from a member of the public.
Hampshire Constabulary received a concern for welfare call shortly after 8am today (September 11).
31 illegal immigrants discovered
While a police officer at the scene, outside Portsmouth Enterprise Centre and near Airport Service Road, told The News this morning 32 men were found in the lorry, the Home Office has since confirmed that it was 31 people who were discovered.
This included twenty-two men between the ages of 20 and 30 who remain in immigration detention for further interviews.
Three of the men presented themselves as Iraqi, three as Iranian and one man had an undeclared nationality.
Five unaccompanied minors, aged 16 to 17, who presented themselves as Iraqi, were referred to social services.
While a family group of four, including two children aged two and four, who also presented themselves as Iraqi were taken to hospital as a precaution.
They have since been discharged into the care of the police and will be released to report regularly to the Home Office while their case is progressed.
Did the immigrants arrive at Portsmouth?
According to the Home Office, the immigrants discovered in the back of the lorry in Quartremaine Road did not arrive through Portsmouth International Port.
What happens next?
The Home Office has said all of the cases will be progressed in line with the UK immigration rules, and where someone has no right to remain in the UK, it will take action to remove them.
What has the Home Office said?
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘At the juxtaposed controls and at ports around the country Border Force use some of the most advanced detection technology around to find and stop migrants attempting to reach the UK illegally.
‘The Sandhurst Treaty, signed by the Prime Minister in January, sets out enhanced joint action agreed by the UK and France to manage our shared border and tackle organised immigration crime.
‘This includes a commitment from the UK to invest an additional £44.5m to protect the shared border. Part of this is being spent to reinforce the security measures in and around smaller ports in northern France.’
Home Office have not commented on how the immigrants entered the country or where.
‘This is mental’
Ronan Kehoe, 40, who is carrying out steel work at the ‘new police station’ down the road witnessed the raid.
He said: ‘When I walked past I saw the lorry, lots of police cars, and as I went further I saw it was immigrants who had been found.
‘It’s quite shocking. I’ve been working on this job since the second week of January and this is the first time I have seen anything like this - it’s very surprising.’
Arron Brown, 25, who works with Mr Kehoe described it as being ‘mental’.
He explained: ‘This is mental, I’ve never seen anything like it.
‘32 is a lot of people to be coming here.
‘I’ve been on this job for two months and I didn’t even know this sort of thing happens.’
What have Hampshire Constabulary said?
An official spokesman for Hampshire police said: ‘We were called at 8.07am by a member of the public reporting concerns for the welfare of a number of people in the back of a lorry.
‘Officers are currently with the lorry on Quartremaine Road and are making enquiries.’