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Spate of stowaway incidents in Lincolnshire

  • 09 May 2014
  • By Chris Tindall

Spanish refrigerated lorries bound for transport firms in Lincolnshire were found to be containing 12 stowaways in two separate incidents just five days apart.

Stuart Barton, transport manager at Boston-based vegetable supplier TH Clements Son, said a reefer load of cabbages had to be destroyed after clandestines were found in the back of a supplier’s vehicle on 1 May.

Lincolnshire police confirmed that four men – three from Syria and one from Iran, were heard banging on the inside of the lorry at Sutterton roundabout.

They were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.

“We were told the order wasn’t going to make it because of stowaways,” Barton told “Because we are dealing with fresh produce our orders fluctuate up and down. We have contingencies built in for orders, so we deal with a shortfall in the same way. We just have to manage our stocks accordingly.”

In an earlier incident on 26 April, a driver of a Spanish lorry that had arrived at the premises of Edward Pearson Storage Haulage called the police after hearing knocking coming from his vehicle.

Police discovered eight men, this time from Iran, Syria and Vietnam, hiding amid a load of lettuces.

A police spokeswoman described the men as “extremely cold” and that once in custody the priority was to check their welfare, but she also added: “This has a wider impact than human trafficking – with lorry loads of vegetables that now have to be destroyed.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Suspected immigration offenders who use lorries to enter the UK will generally leave the vehicles at the earliest possible opportunity wherever that might be – a motorway services for example, or a layby or – if there have been no previous stops – the lorry’s final destination.”

  • Commercial Motor magazine features an Investigation into the issue of stowaways and the rising number of immigrants targeting UK lorries next week (15 May).


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