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Four children who were subjected to years of neglect by their parents should have been taken into care far earlier according to a report. The children who were from Gloucestershire, lived in squalid conditions and were infested with lice. Their parents were each jailed for 2 years in June. A report by the Safeguarding Children Board found that the authorities should have taken tougher action.
– David Mc Callum, Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board
The motivation was to support the parents who themselves had all sorts of issues of their own to improve the way that they were caring for their children to make it better. I think we can all see now and it's clear from the review that actually the level of neglect was at a level where these children needed to be removed earlier.
15 people who were found in a lorry at a service station on the A303 in Somerset are spending the night at a village hall near Yeovil. Police have arrested the German driver. An investigation is underway into how the group, who claim to come from Kashmir and Eritrea, came into the country.
Our Somerset Correspondent David Woodland has this report:
The owners of a lorry found containing 15 people near Ilminster take incidents of human trafficking "very seriously," a spokesperson said.
The Thermotraffic spokesperson added: "At the moment we are in close contact with the British public authorities and support them to investigate the situation."
A German national has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating the unlawful entry of people into the UK. He is understood to be the driver of the lorry.
Human traffickers are using "increasingly dangerous" tactics in a bid to dodge strict border controls, a Home Office spokeswoman has said.
It comes after 15 people were discovered in a lorry in Ilminster, Somerset, earlier today.
The spokeswoman said border and immigration officers were now assisting Avon and Somerset Police in their investigation.
– ome Office spokeswoman
We continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies both here and in Europe to target the organised crime gangs behind the majority of people-smuggling.
These criminals are constantly modifying their tactics in an attempt to evade strengthened border controls and we are seeing increasingly dangerous methods being used, including the use of sealed or refrigerated vehicles.
We would warn those who are tempted to put their lives in the hands of organised smugglers, that they are putting themselves and their families at risk.
The doors of a lorry found containing 15 people suffering from possible dehydration near Ilminster was opened in the French port of Calais for nine minutes, sources tell ITV News.
ITV News producer Sandi Sidhu has tweeted:
Source tells ITV News that the lorry doors were opened in Calais for 9 mins #Illminster
Police say they were alerted to the presence of 15 individuals after people reported hearing "noises coming from the back of the lorry".
They previously reported that there had been 20 people onboard.
News: We received several calls earlier this afternoon raising concerns about noises coming from the back of the lorry 1/3
Officers stopped the lorry at a service station on the A303 Southfields Roundabout at Ilminster at about 1pm 2/3
A total of 15 people were found on board including men, women and a 15 year-old boy. Full update to be issued on our website shortly 3/3
An investigation continues after a lorry containing 15 people was discovered in a lorry at a service station in Somerset. Superintendent Geoff Wessell said the driver of the lorry, who was in his late 30s, was the person who had been arrested and was being held at Yeovil police station. He arrived in the UK earlier today from continental Europe and was heading to the West Country.
Police were first alerted by a motorist behind the lorry, which was owned by international freight company Thermotraffic, who heard banging coming from inside. Mr Wessell said inside the lorry were 12 men, mostly in their late teens or early 20s but including one boy aged 15, and three women. Several could speak English. The group of foreign nationals was thought to have been on the refrigerated lorry for "several hours".
– Superintendent Geoff Wessell
"He was quite shocked to find people in his vehicle and he is assisting us with our inquiries".
"There were a number of calls being made and I am aware that the driver was in contact with his company and everything happened almost at the same time"
"I am also aware that the driver was trying to find a safe place to pull over, so the driver did pull over very willingly when police officers got behind the vehicle."
"They told us they got on to the vehicle in mainland Europe at one of the main ferry ports but we don't have the details of their journey at the moment."
"They were quite distressed and it got very hot in the vehicle and they were quite dehydrated. They had been in the vehicle several hours."
"It is never nice for officers to have to deal with something like this but luckily when they opened the wagon up, the occupants were distressed but there was no one seriously injured."
Police could see the back doors of the lorry moving as the people inside knocked to be let out, the officer in charge of the investigation has said.
Somerset Area Superintendent Geoff Wessell spoke to ITV News: