Border police find illegal immigrants hiding in two lorries headed for Merseyside

ILLEGAL immigrants were found stowed away in two shipments headed for Merseyside.

UK Border Agency officers discovered 22 immigrants hiding in the two loads – one of aluminium and another of car tyres.

They were stopped by officers in Calais before they reached British soil.

Nine men were found within a Romanian-registered lorry at around 8.15pm on April 13.

Using technology that detects evidence of carbon dioxide of humans on board trucks, officers discovered the Afghan stowaways hiding amongst aluminium products destined for a business in St Helens.

The men were detected during a visual inspection of a soft-sided Dutch-registered trailer which the lorry was towing, and found hiding among the cargo.

Then, at around 1am on April 16, a German-registered lorry with a soft sided trailer was pulled out of a queue and selected for examination by UK Border Agency officers as it was about to cross the Channel.

Again using the carbon dioxide probe, they detected very high readings to the rear of the trailer. On opening the trailer they found nine Afghani and three Iraqi men along with one Palestinian traveller in a load of tyres from Germany also destined for Liverpool.

The drivers and haulage businesses could now face massive penalties of up to £2,000 per immigrant.

On both occasions, the would-be illegal immigrants were fingerprinted, photographed, refused entry to the UK and then handed over to the French police before the lorries were allowed to continue the journey to the UK.

Tom Dowdall, director of Border Control European Operations, said: “The UK Border Agency is committed to tackling illegal immigration and its harmful effects.

“Finds such as these highlight the tenacity required by immigration officers to stay one step ahead in the prevention of illegal immigration.

“This is why we have our own border control checks in France – to try to prevent illegal entrants even setting foot in the UK.

“Combined with hi-tech search equipment and extra powers to combat immigration crime and track down the criminals who bring in the majority of all illegal immigrants, we are determined to ensure that only those people the UK needs are able to come here.

“Those who wish to abuse the rules will be stopped before they travel.”

In 2008, the UK Border Agency stopped 28,000 individual attempts by people attempting to cross the Channel illegally and searched more than one million vehicles.