England

'Illegal migrants' found in freezer lorry on M25

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Media captionInsp Alan Nicholls: "This could have been absolutely terrible"

Fifteen suspected illegal immigrants have received medical treatment after being found in a freezer lorry refrigerated to -25C.

The driver stopped at Clacket Lane services on the M25 in Surrey when he heard loud banging coming from inside the vehicle about 10:20 BST.

Police said those found in the lorry were detained on suspicion of illegal entry. Several teenagers were inside the vehicle.

Three people were taken to hospital.

"We sent a number of resources and, after assessing the group, took one woman and two men with minor ailments to East Surrey Hospital," said a spokeswoman for South East Coast Ambulance.

Two 999 calls were made about the lorry; one from the driver and one from a person inside the lorry, who initially said there were 40 people trapped in freezing temperatures and one of them was dead.

Sussex and Surrey road policing unit said the youngest of the stowaways was a 13-year-old boy. Others were aged between 15 and 17.

One of the occupants suffered a fit, an elderly man had high blood pressure and others were suffering from hypothermia, police said.

Those on board were Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian and Kurdish.

Image caption The 15 people were found in the freezer lorry containing roast potatoes

The Home Office said 11 males, including five claiming to be minors, were arrested. The minors will be passed into the care of social services.

The others, who include a family of four with two children, are being dealt with by immigration officials.

Insp Alan Nicholls said the people were in the lorry were shivering a lot but looked quite well.

"They have got a lot of sleeping bags in there - they must have huddled together to keep warm," he said.

Police believe the group boarded the lorry, which was transporting boxes of frozen roast potatoes, in the Netherlands early on Friday.

The vehicle travelled to the UK through the Channel Tunnel.

A Surrey Police spokeswoman said the lorry driver was assisting with inquiries.

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