June 19 2013 Latest news:
Jane Ball, News Editor
Thursday, March 7, 2013
A Noak Hill farmer got more than he bargained for when a lorry-load of potatoes arrived from the Continent on Tuesday – along with four suspected illegal immigrants.
Three adults and a toddler were found hiding among 25 tonnes of the veg at A Russell Farmers potato merchant, in Pentowan Farm.
The shock discovery was made when the driver, who does not work for the farm, opened his refrigerated truck to offload some sample spuds which had travelled from Holland via France.
David Russell, owner of the Church Road farm, said: “It was quite a surprise for everyone. The driver drained of colour a bit. He shut the lorry back up straight away and called police.
“I was shocked. You hear about theses things happening but don’t expect the drama to unfold in front of you.
“It wasn’t a nice thing to see; people that desperate.”
It is believed the stowaways – two men aged in their mid-thirties, a woman aged in her mid-twenties and a four-year-old boy – may have come from Iran.
“They were in apparent good health and were dressed warmly,” said Mr Russell. He added: “The temperature in the lorry was running at ambient. It’s lucky it wasn’t -25 in there.”
Mr Russell did not know if the lorry had crossed into England by ferry or train.
Officers in three police cars took the immigrants to Romford Police Station before being handed over to the UK Border Agency.
Mr Russell said: “The police were excellent. They came really quickly and acted very professionally.”