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.
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Border Force officers at Gatwick have prevented an attempt to smuggle approximately four kilos of cocaine into the UK.
Horse cruelty is on the rise with the animals found abandoned or left in a dire state of health.
Thursday morning's weather for the west of the region