Truckload of suspected immigrants caught
PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 April 2015
IMMIGRATION teams swooped on a lorry with 12 suspected illegal immigrants in the back during a morning raid in Weston.
Eleven of the men were from African country Eritrea, while the other was from Sudan – and the youngest of the group was aged just 16.
Two further men, who were both from Slovakia and aged 49 and 20, are believed to have been occupying the driver and passenger seats.
They were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and have been released on bail until May 16.
Police were alerted to the lorry on Thursday just after 9am following a 999 call, and rushed to the Lidl Distribution Centre in Scot Elm Drive.
An eyewitness described seeing a police car racing round the corner of the distribution centre and five of the men immediately holding their hands up.
When police arrived, 10 men from Eritrea and a 16-year-old from the same African country had left the van, as well as one 40-year-old from Sudan.
Police called the immigration authorities as they were suspected to be illegal immigrants.
It is not clear how long the men had been inside the lorry, or in the UK for, but they were checked by the ambulance service, who said they appeared to be in good health.
Two of them were aged 25, two were aged 27, two were 30 years old and two were 31. The others were aged 20 and 26.
They were all arrested on suspicion of illegally entering the UK.
When the 16-year-old’s age was discovered, he was released into the care of social services.
The others were taken into immigration detention while their cases are dealt with.
A Home Office spokesman said: “They have not been charged with anything.
“They will make applications which will be considered and appropriate action taken. If their immigration application is accepted, then they have permission to stay. If not, they will be removed.
“The same is true for the 16-year-old. But with minors, they are granted exceptional leave until they are 18.
“He will make an application now and appropriate action will be taken when he is 18.”