The ‘illegal dozen’ - 12 men discovered hiding in chilled veg lorries bound for Boston

Home Office Immigration Enforcement
Home Office Immigration Enforcement

Suspected illegal immigrants have been found hiding in the back of refrigerated Spanish lorries bound for the Boston area – twice in just six days.

The men, from Iran, Syria, and Vietnam, are said to have smuggled themselves into the country by stowing away for 12 hours in two chilled produce lorries.

The first incident took place last Saturday when a Spanish supply lorry arrived at the commercial site of Edward Pearson, in Priory Road, Freiston.

The driver heard a knocking from the back of his lorry and called the police.

Eight men – four from Iran, three from Vietnam and one from Syria – had been hiding in the lorry transporting lettuces. They were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and held in custody at Boston Police Station until Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE) officers arrived.

A staff member at Edward Pearson told The Standard: “The lorry was full up to the back so they must have been hiding at the top or at the side of the pallets. I think they were a bit dazed when they got out.”

He added: “We certainly weren’t expected that kind of delivery.”

The second incident, on Friday, was discovered when a Spanish lorry driver heard banging in his vehicle at Sutterton roundabout.

Four men – three from Syria and one from Iran - were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and remain in immigration detention while their cases are considered.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “They were in a refrigerated lorry full of cabbages and were extremely cold. They had alerted the driver by banging the vegetables on the side of the lorry. Once we had the men in custody our first priority was to check their welfare.”

That lorry was on its way to TH Clements in Benington.The company confirmed it belonged to a Spanish supplier.

The police spokesman added: “This has a wider impact than human trafficking - with lorry loads of vegetables that now have to be destroyed.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We work closely with police to tackle illegal immigration. Where someone is found to have no legal right to remain in the UK we will take action to remove them. When suspected illegal immigrants found on lorries are arrested by police we respond quickly.

“Suspected immigration offenders who use lorries to enter the UK will generally leave the vehicles at the earliest possible opportunity wherever that might be - a motorway services for example, or a layby or – if there have been no previous stops - the lorry’s final destination.”

He added: “Border Force officers stationed at ports in France and Belgium work hard to prevent people entering the UK without permission. In the year to April 2013, 11,000 attempts to cross the Channel illegally were prevented.”

They added: “We would urge anyone with specific information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”