Officers selected the German-registered van which was carrying insulation boards for further examination.
A heart beat detector gave a positive reading and officers carried out a detailed search during which they found a concealed box.
After forcing open the box, they discovered it contained lighting, fans and seven Sri Lankan immigrants.
The 51-year-old driver of the van appeared before the French courts where he was jailed for four months for facilitating people smuggling.
More top news
The family of a man found dead in a park in Basingstoke say he will be 'sadly missed'. Jason Williams was found on Tuesday morning.
Thursday evening's weather for the west of the region
Thursday evening's weather for the east of the region