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  1. ITV Report

Inside lorry likely to have been between 2 and 15 degrees

Police responded to several reports about noises coming from the van Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Fifteen illegal immigrants are being treated for dehydration after being found in the back of a refrigerated lorry deep in Somerset. Police swooped on the HGV at Southfield Services in Ilminster around 1pm after worried callers reported noises coming from the back of the vehicle. They found a group of stowaways including women and a 15-year-old boy who said they were from East Africa and Kashmir.

They are thought to have boarded the truck somewhere between Belgium and Calais and were found more than 200 miles away from Britain's Channel ports.

People reported hearing banging in the truck Credit: ITV News West Country

The German-registered truck is understood to have been transporting pharmaceutical goods to Devon.

A man from Germany was arrested on suspicion of facilitating the unlawful entry of people into the UK.

The discovery comes days after 35 people suffering from serious health issues were found in a shipping container at Tilbury Docks in Essex.

Police stopped the lorry at services on the A303 Credit: ITV News West Country

"Officers stopped the lorry at a service station on the A303 Southfields Roundabout at Ilminster at about 1pm.

"They were checked over by paramedics at the scene, but there are no ongoing concerns over their health or wellbeing and they've been provided with medical support and supplies.

"We're now liaising with the local authority to manage their ongoing welfare needs. "The lorry, which originated in mainland Europe, has been seized as part of our investigation."

– Avon and Somerset Police

The vehicle belonged to the international refrigerated transportation company Thermotraffic. Joe Di Gennaro, the UK and Europe logistics manager said the van was likely carrying pharmaceutical goods and had a temperature of between two and 15 degrees.

"To be quite honest all our drivers are told not to park 200km around Calais because of problems we have had from Belgium all the way to Calais.

"They jump on all over the place and that's where I would imagine it happened.

"We do have drivers that drive towards them to get them out of the way or put their foot down. It is unbelievable.

"We have secure locks on the back of our trucks in addition to the standard locks. "We do hold our drivers fully responsible. Every time they stop they are told to check all of their equipment before them pull away."

– Joe Di Gennaro
Immigration are now dealing with the 15 people Credit: ITV News West Country

He would not say where in Europe the lorry started its journey but said he would guess the people climbed on board "between Belgium and Calais - Belgium is a high risk area."

A heavy police presence remained at the scene yesterday afternoon, including at least two ambulances, three police cars, and a police van.

Staff at the neighbouring Little Chef and Travelodge said they were open as normal.