15 stowaways being cared for in Somerset village hall

15 suspected illegal migrants discovered in Somerset yesterday have been cared for overnight by Red Cross volunteers, at Long Sutton Village Hall. Police discovered them in a lorry near Ilminster yesterday.

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  1. National

Man arrested over Somerset lorry released on bail

Avon and Somerset police have released a 50-year-old man on bail following his arrest in connection with a lorry carrying 15 people near Ilminster.

ITV News understands he is the driver of the lorry.

A force spokesman said: "A 50-year-old man has been released on police bail pending further enquiries. He was arrested yesterday on suspicion of facilitating entry of people into the UK. 15 people who were found in the back of a lorry remain in a rest centre."

  1. West Country (E)

Red Cross caring for stowaways in village hall

Volunteers from the British Red Cross are supporting a group of 15 people found on board a lorry at a service station near Ilminster, Somerset, yesterday.

Having been checked over by paramedics at the scene, they were then taken to Long Sutton Village Hall, Somerset, by a team of four Red Cross emergency response volunteers trained in providing practical and emotional support. The group were provided with beds, bedding and other essential supplies such as hygiene kits.

Police cars outside Long Sutton Village Hall this morning. Credit: ITV West Country/Bob Constantine

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  1. National

Illegal migration to the UK 'increasing'

Irregular migration to the UK "is increasing", an anti-trafficking expert said.

Andy Desmond, Director of Anti-Trafficking Consultants, told Good Morning Britain that the hot weather simply makes cases, such as those of migrants in lorries, "more overt because of their own distress."

Following the discovery of 35 Afghan Sikhs in a shipping container at Tilbury Docks at the weekend, a lorry has been discovered carrying 15 migrants with suspected dehydration in Somerset. The German driver has been arrested.

  1. National

Lorry owners take human trafficking 'very seriously'

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.

  1. National

Human traffickers using 'increasingly dangerous' tactics

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.

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.

– ome Office spokeswoman

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  1. National

Lorry doors 'opened in Calais' for nine minutes

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:

  1. National

Police: Lorry passengers include a 15-year-old boy

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.

  1. West Country (E)

Driver of lorry had alerted his company

A police officer looks inside the space where 15 people are believed to have been transported from mainland Europe Credit: ITV News

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".

"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."

– Superintendent Geoff Wessell
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