Thirteen suspected illegal immigrants have been discovered in the back of a lorry at the Dartford Crossing yesterday morning (August 25).

Kent Police were called to the incident at 11.30am before contacting Home Office Immigration Enforcement.

Police found 13 individuals in the back of a vehicle. They included: five Syrian men aged between 27 and 45, an 18-year-old Iranian man, two Iranian women, aged 27 and 47, a 35-year-old man from Kuwaiti Bidoon, Eritrean women aged 24 and 27, and a 26-year-old Sudanese man.

A further Iranian man was found to be under the age of 18.

It is believed one person was rushed to Darent Valley Hospital, though was not in a life-threatening condition, and the 12 others were taken to an immigration and removal centre in Dover.

All of them are now in immigration detention awaiting questioning by immigration officers, apart from the 27-year-old Eritrean woman who has been placed on immigration bail while her case is progressed.

The Home Office is working closely with law enforcement agencies in the UK and in Europe to target organised crime gangs behind the majority of people smuggling.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We work closely with the 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.

“Drivers and hauliers must take adequate steps to secure their vehicles from illegal immigrants trying to smuggle themselves across the border. If a driver does not take these steps - and is found with people hiding in their vehicle – they will be issued with a civil penalty.”

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