11 people found in lorry freed by firefighters

11 people found in lorry freed by firefighters
11 people found in lorry freed by firefighters
11 people found in lorry freed by firefighters
11 people found in lorry freed by firefighters

11 people found into back of lorry by traffickers and eat expensive Belgian chocolates to survive before being freed by firefighters.

Emergency services were called to a lay-by in West Knoyle shortly after 2.15pm.

They had responded to reports of shouting and banging coming from the back of one of the lorries parked near the Willoughby Hedge Café.

Dave Thomas, the owner of the café, was one of the first to call the police.

He said: “I was in the cafe on site with three drivers when someone came in and said that there was large banging on the side of one of the lorries.

“The back doors had been locked. These it seemed had been damaged by both glue and force and could not be opened, and it seemed that this is a typical ruse by the gangs that organise people into the country.

“They get them into the lorry, replace the locks and them damage and super glue such that they cannot be opened.”

Wiltshire Police has now launched an investigation into the incident.

A spokesman said: “Eleven people were located in the back of the lorry.

“These included three children under the age of 15 and eight other people who were all checked over by paramedics at the scene.

“We are currently working with colleagues from the Home Office Immigration Department as our enquiries progress.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact us on 101 and quote log number 160 of December 2.”

Mr Thomas witnessed fire crews cutting open the back of the lorry, and has said it is sadly a familiar site for him.

He said: “We all knew straight away what the banging and shouting was – it has happened here twice before in the past 15 years I believe.”

As a result of the doors being superglued and re-padlocked, fire crews had to use a disc cutter to access the people trapped inside.

Mr Thomas said: “Police were soon there as were the fire brigade, but then they had to wait for a special disc cutter to get the padlocks off.

“It seems that there was one who could speak English and the police learnt of the total numbers on board, and organised three ambulances who soon arrived. There were 12 police on site by then.”

Mr Thomas was able to find out how the people in the lorry had managed to survive the long journey from Europe.

He said: “The group had stowed way on the very back part of the trailer and had been feeding on the pallet of very expensive Belgian Chocolate that was being carried.

“They seemed to have been very lucky as this trailer was a refrigerated unit, but the section that they and the chocolate was in was at normal temperature.

“The police asked the driver to position the trailer across the layby in case they made a dash for it when doors were opened, hence why the rear unit is across the layby at an angle.”

he Home Office has confirmed that Immigration Enforcement was called to the A303 this afternoon.

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