Polish truck drivers arrested for smuggling 68 stowaways

Four Polish nationals have been arrested after Border Force officers discovered 68 stowaways hiding in lorries that arrived at Harwich International Port last night (4 June).

Seven of the immigrants discovered were taken to hospital as a precaution, before being released.

A Home Office spokeswoman said they were found following “a proactive search of four lorries which had arrived at Harwich port from Holland”.

The nationalities of the 53 adults and 15 children were Afghans, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian.

All 68 are now in the care of Border Force.

“Four Polish nationals, who were driving the vehicles, have been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration,” said the Home Office spokeswoman. “They have been taken to separate police stations and will now be questioned by the Home Office’s criminal investigations team while enquiries continue.”

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it received a call at 10.12pm on Thursday and three ambulance crews, two rapid response vehicles, two ambulance officers and three units from the Trust’s hazardous area response team attended the port.

The patients that were taken to hospital were suffering from abdominal and chest pains and were feeling faint.

Harwich port declined to comment.

Truckers' Toilets founder says government doesn't give "two hoots" about drivers' health

The founder of Truckers’ Toilets has accused Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt of “passing the buck” after he told her to contact another department about improved toilet access for drivers.

Gill Kemp said the Department of Health “doesn’t appear to care two hoots about the health of lorry drivers” after Hunt’s office appeared to brush off her concerns.

Kemp contacted Hunt after he paid a visit to skincare products firm Deb Group and raised awareness about the importance of hand hygiene.

She asked him to back her campaign for professional HGV drivers to have access to customer toilets, but in a written response his spokesman said her campaign “would be better addressed to the Department for Transport.”

The DfT has previously told Kemp it has “no powers to intervene”.

Kemp said: “Mr Hunt's response is unhelpful because the Department of Health appears to be refusing to take on board the health of hard working people, i.e lorry drivers in this instance.

“What bugs me most is the fact that MPs and government staff surely accept deliveries of goods personally either via shopping, on the doorstep, to suppliers and so on, but don't give a hoot about the people who do the deliveries; yet they bang on about looking after hard working people. 

She added: “Is it right, in the 21st Century, to ask people to ‘work hard’ without access to a toilet and be unable to wash their hands?”

In April, Truckers' Toilets and Blue Arrow joined forces to lobby the government for minimum standards for HGV toilet facilities.