Stoke & Staffordshire

M6 closed as 12 found in refrigerated lorry

Twelve suspected illegal immigrants have been found in the back of a refrigerated lorry on the M6.

It was travelling northbound when a person in the back of the lorry called police at about 09:00 BST, requesting urgent assistance, officers said.

The motorway was closed for a short time and the lorry was stopped between Hilton Park services and Junction 10a.

Police said the 12 were "dishevelled, frightened and extremely scared" and suffering from malnourishment.

They received medical treatment at nearby Hilton Park services for the effects of dehydration.

Border control staff are investigating.

'Could have died'

Supt Paul Keasey, from the Central Motorway Policing Group, said they claimed to be from Afghanistan and said they were being held in the lorry against their will.

"We don't take it [closing the motorway] lightly. We didn't know which lorry they were in," Supt Keasey said.

"Obviously we had the potential that 12 people could have died, so what we did was set up a rolling block on the motorway.

"We identified a vehicle with support from the helicopter, which was locating refrigerated trucks for us and luckily we found the 12 people still safe and well inside."

He said the lorry was not from the UK, but investigations were ongoing to establish its background.

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