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15 men and boys arrested after being found in a lorry on the A350 near Chippenham in Wiltshire

Emergency services at the scene on the A350 near Chippenham. Credit: Wiltshire Police

Fifteen men and boys have been arrested on suspicion of entering the UK illegally after they were found in the back of a lorry in Wiltshire.

A member of the public alerted police after seeing suspicious activity on the A350 between the M4 and Chippenham yesterday, 6 November. Officers closed the road for four hours while they investigated.

One resident who lives near the Kington Langley junction thought there had been a serious accident.

I saw the lorry surrounded by 25 emergency vehicles, mostly police but ambulances, fire engines and there was a tent that had been set up by the ambulance team that had paramedics working in it. At the time I thought nasty road accident - obviously this morning we've learned it was something more than that.

I mean we quite often have lorries parked in a lay-by just behind us by the bus stop but you don't imagine that this is a situation that's going to occur.

– Graham Seeman and Fi Redmond
15 people were found in the back of a lorry on the A350 near Chippenham last night, Wednesday 6 November. Credit: Bing

The driver, who is in his 50s and from the Republic of Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of people smuggling or assisting with illegal entry.

All of the people who were discovered in the lorry are believed to be over the age of 16 and none are thought to be in a serious condition, according to police.

All 15 men were arrested on suspicion of entering the UK illegally, with one person taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon as a precaution before being taken to custody.

Wiltshire Police has now passed the investigation to the Home Office.

I'd like to thank all emergency services who responded last night - as with all incidents, we didn't know the scale of what we would potentially be dealing with and all first responders showed true professionalism at the scene.

I would also like to extend my thanks to the vigilant member of the public who initially reported this incident to us - it is thanks to them that this incident was resolved swiftly and safely with no serious casualties.

– Duty Superintendent Steve Cox, Wiltshire Police