Ilminster police find suspected illegal immigrants in lorry

Media caption,
Police are investigating how the group came to be on the lorry as Luke de Costa reports

Fifteen people suspected of being illegal immigrants have been discovered by police in the back of a lorry in Somerset.

Police said the lorry was pulled over on the A303 at Ilminster in Somerset, at about 13:00 BST.

Paramedics are treating the group for dehydration and immigration authorities have been called in.

A German national has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating the unlawful entry of people into the UK.

Avon and Somerset Police said it had received a number of calls concerning noises coming from the back of a lorry.

The force initially said 20 people were on board, but later revised it down to 15 in the group - consisting of men, women and a 15-year-old boy - who told officers they were from Eritrea and Kashmir.

Image caption,
The lorry was stopped at Ilminster in Somerset

Supt Geoff Wessell said the occupants had boarded the lorry at Calais - though it is not known how they got there.

"They told us they had come across the channel but the lorry had not stopped," he said.

"Although the lorry was a refrigerated one it was not switched on so the people were very hot and distressed.

"We gave them food and water and paramedics checked them over before we took them to a place of safety to be interviewed.

Media caption,
Supt Geoff Wessell: "They were in quite a distressed state"

"They were heading towards the South West, [to a place] near Exeter."

South Western Ambulance Service said none of the group were taken to hospital and all were treated at the scene.

The lorry is owned by Thermotraffic but the firm but said it was unable to confirm where the vehicle was going or where it had come from.

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