Illegal immigrants hidden in lorry heading for the Fens caught thanks to sniffer dog

FIVE illegal immigrants hiding in a lorry heading for the Fens have been prevented from entering the country after they were sniffed out by a detection dog.

UK Border Agency officers inspected a German registered freight vehicle at Calais last Wednesday evening.

A specialist body detection dog - a two-year-old English Springer Spaniel called Benji - alerted his handlers to five men hiding in the back of the lorry.

Officers boarded the trailer, removed the men - who were all from Afghanistan - and passed them to the French Frontier Police. They were found hiding among a load of paper en route to Saddlebow Industrial Estate in King’s Lynn.

The vehicle was allowed to continue its journey to the UK. However, both the driver and haulage company may now each be liable for a fine of up to �10,000 - �2,000 per stowaway - if they are unable to prove they took steps to secure the vehicle.

Carole Upshall, UK Border Agency Director for South and Europe, said: “We have to stay one step ahead of illegal immigration. Having UK Border Agency officers based in France and Belgium means we can check vehicles before they cross the channel and stop would-be illegal immigrants setting foot in the UK.

“Increasingly sophisticated and dangerous attempts are being made to try to smuggle people into Britain so our officers use hi-tech equipment, such as heartbeat detectors and carbon dioxide probes, as well as sniffer dogs, to find people hiding in vehicles.

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“Our strong presence at the border is preventing illegal immigrants from entering the UK and then heading for places like, in this case, Kings Lynn.”