Two arrested at M-way service area in clampdown on illegal immigrants

PUBLISHED: 18:36 08 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

TWO men thought to be illegal immigrants were caught during a crackdown on foreign stowaways at a motorway service station this morning (Monday). The UK Border Agency and Herts Police led a joint operation at the South Mimms service station on the M25 wh

TWO men thought to be illegal immigrants were caught during a crackdown on foreign stowaways at a motorway service station this morning (Monday).

The UK Border Agency and Herts Police led a joint operation at the South Mimms service station on the M25 which targeted those who get into the country in the back of lorries.

Special CO2 probes to detect human breathing were used to discover if any stowaways were hiding in vehicles.

The two men they found were from Iraq and Iran and both were arrested before being taken to an immigration detention centre in a new mobile vehicle which is fitted out with eight cells.

The UK Border Agency will take steps to remove them from the country as soon as possible.

Immigration officers also found two lorry drivers who had failed to pay a total of £3,700 in fines for bringing illegal immigrants into the UK and both of their vehicles were detained until they made arrangements to pay up.

A Lithuanian driver was also arrested when he was found to be above the legal limit of alcohol and his vehicle was seized.

The operation is the start of a week of action led by the UK Border Agency which is targeting known hot spots where illegal immigrants have previously been caught getting out the back of lorries.

UK Border Agency regional deputy director Simon Excell said: "Our top priority is to stop would-be illegal immigrants before they reach the UK. That's why we've got hundreds of British immigration officers based overseas. Last year our officers based in France and Belgium searched over one million lorries and prevented 18,000 people from crossing the English Channel without permission."

He added: "We are leading this week of action to show that there is no hiding place for those who try to cheat their way across the border."

Sergeant Pete Scholes from Herts Police said: "Today's operation is a great example of enforcement agencies working together. We were delighted to be involved and help UK Border Agency officials to deal with illegal immigration.

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