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Builders grab ‘illegal immigrants’as they jump from back of a lorry in Leigh

TWO suspected illegal immigrants were grabbed by two burly builders after they leapt from the back of a lorry which was delivering kitchens from Italy to Leigh[1] yesterday morning. The lorry driver yelled “danger, danger!” as the two men, believed to be from Iraq, tried to make a run for it in London Road, at the junction with Leigh Hall Road. No-nonsense builders Justin Slowley, 47, and Andy Collins, 28, who work for Southend-based JLS Building Services, are fitting out new flats there, sprung into action.

They managed to get hold of the suspects and detain them until armed police screeched up at the scene shortly after 10am. Mr Collins said: “When the driver went to the back he was shouting ‘danger, danger!’ so we rushed over thinking one of the units was falling. “Instead two men were pushing their way out so I grabbed one of them and put him in a choke hold while Justin grabbed the other bloke.

“We did feel sorry for them, they said they came from Iraq and must have been scared for their lives but they should have done things through the proper channels. “There was a rock in the lorry which they could have used or a bottle of urine they could have thrown on us. We didn’t think, we acted.”

Mr Slowley, who lives in Lifstan Way, added: “I grabbed one of the guys and held him up against the lorry, he was primed to leg it. I had him at his neck, by his jacket, and he undid the zip but we told them to sit down and wait for the police. “They looked quite young – maybe in their 20s.

I think the one I grabbed had done it before because he just kept telling me to let him go. They were obviously prepared, they had sleeping bags, gloves and scarves. The poor driver had to search the 40-foot lorry with the police, pulling everything out to make sure no-one else was in there.”

Meanwhile Cody Hamilton, who works in the Co-op opposite, saw it all unfold. She said: “It was really shocking. We saw the police and armed police with guns putting the two men into the van but we couldn’t believe it.

Nothing like this has ever happened around here before, the action certainly brightened up our day!” Leigh ward councillor, Bernard Arscott said: “It is not something you ever expect to happen in Leigh – it is the first instance i have heard of. They must have travelled a considerable distance.”

A police spokesman said: “Officers attended. Two men have been detained. Police have notified the Border Force.”

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Immigration Enforcement was contacted by Essex Police[2] .

“Police arrested two men for suspected immigration offences and they will be interviewed by immigration officials.

Where someone has no right to remain in the UK, we will take action to remove them.”


  1. ^ Leigh (www.braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk)
  2. ^ Essex Police (www.braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk)

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