Drivers stuck in M1 jam hear banging in refrigerated lorry before traffic police find seven migrants hiding behind crates of San Pellegrino sparkling water
Seven people were discovered hiding in the back of a lorry’s refrigerated trailer after motorists stuck in traffic heard ‘banging’ coming from inside.
Leicestershire Police responded to the incident after the HGV had stopped on the M1 northbound close to junction 24 near to Leicester at around 9.30pm on Thursday.
A small group of migrants were found huddled behind boxes of San Pellegrino sparkling water.
A small group of migrants were found huddled behind boxes of San Pellegrino sparkling water after a refrigerated lorry was stopped on the M1 near Leicester on Thursday evening
Their condition was confirmed to have been ‘fine and well’ at the time they were found.
All seven inhabitants were detained and taken into custody where they will be processed by immigration officials.
Leicestershire Police have since confirmed the driver was not arrested after the incident.
Sharing the news in a tweet, Leicestershire Roads Policing Unit said: ‘Members of public report hearing banging coming from refrigerated trailer in slow moving traffic on the M1.
‘HGV stopped, 7 people found in the trailer! Fortunately they’re all fit & well.
‘All 7 arrested & taken to custody for immigration teams to come and process.’
Motorists on J24 of the M1 near to Leicester reported hearing ‘banging’ coming from the back of the lorry (pictured)
Sharing the news in a tweet, Leicestershire Roads Policing Unit said: ‘Members of public report hearing banging coming from refrigerated trailer in slow moving traffic on the M1’
More than 21,000 migrants have made the crossing to the UK so far this year, analysis shows. This is more than double the total for the whole of 2020.
In 2019, Home Secretary Priti Patel promised to make migrant crossings an ‘infrequent phenomenon’ by spring 2020 and then pledged in August last year to ‘make this route unviable’.
According to the National Crime Agency, the most common clandestine ways for migrants to enter the UK are in lorries or other commercial vehicles transported by rail or ferry, in commercial shipping containers or by small boats.
Organised gangs frequently smuggle people in hard-sided lorries, while more opportunist smuggling tends to be in soft-sided lorries.
Most methods of transport subject migrants to significant personal risk.
The NCA says that whatever their method of entering the UK, without permission to work legally, migrants can be exploited and forced into modern slavery or turn to crime to support themselves.