Immigrants stopped in Portishead-bound lorry

A GROUP of would-be illegal immigrants bound for a depot in Portishead were found in a lorry before they reached their final destination.

The five people from Eritrea in Africa had hidden in a lorry full of large rolls of paper being delivered from the continent to the North Somerset town.

However, they were stopped after a body detection dog and its handler from the UK Border Agency found them stowed away in the lorry in Calais.

After being found at 7am on October 20, the five were handed over to the French border police.

The Slovakian-registered vehicle and its Slovakian driver now both face a fine of up to �2,000 per person if the UK Border Agency is able to prove that they failed to take steps to secure the vehicle.

UK Border Agency regional director Carole Upshall said: “This incident shows why we base UK Border Agency dogs and staff in France - to stop would-be illegal immigrants before they can reach the UK.

“As well as using sniffer dogs, we also have heartbeat detectors and carbon dioxide probes to find people hiding in vehicles.”

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Last year, the UK Border Agency stopped over 29,000 individual attempts to cross the English Channel illegally and searched more than 1,000,000 freight vehicles.