Sussex

'Illegal immigrants' found in East Grinstead lorry

Trinity Methodist Church Image copyright Google
Image caption Trinity Methodist Church was used as a refuge centre for the suspected illegal immigrants

Eighteen suspected illegal immigrants from Iraq, Syria and Iran have been found in the back of an "exceptionally hot" lorry.

The people inside waved to catch the attention of passing motorists, who flagged down the driver on the A22 in East Grinstead just before 09:30 BST.

A man and a woman were taken to hospital suffering from dehydration, but later discharged.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.

'Life-threatening situation'

The 63-year-old driver pulled over in a bus stop close to the junction with Dorset Avenue.

The nearby Trinity Methodist Church was then used as a refuge centre until immigration enforcement officers arrived.

Six people claiming to be children were passed to social services to have their age assessed.

A Home Office spokesman said: "All will be processed in line with immigration rules."

Sgt William Keating-Jones, of Sussex Police, said: "The vehicle was exceptionally hot and it was important we reacted quickly.

"This was a great multi-agency response to a potentially life-threatening situation, with emergency services, immigration officials, volunteers and even local residents all pulling together."

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