Irish truck driver who heard knocking from his trailer released without charge in England

An Irish truck driver has been released without charge in England after he was questioned about the discovery of 15 people in the back of his lorry. His employers, a transport firm based in Cork, said they expect him back in Ireland within a few days. Mike Delaney, of Delaney Transport, based in Glanmire, said he spoke with the driver shortly after his release from custody last night and said he had co-operated fully with police.

“He just wants to collect the truck and get back home and get back to work,” said Mr Delaney. The driver, a man in his 50s, raised the alarm about suspicious sounds coming from the back of his hard-sided large refrigerated truck in Wiltshire around 8.30pm on Wednesday. The driver had made his way from Calais in France via ferry to Dover, and was on the A350 in Chippenham, about four hours into his journey to Pembroke to catch the ferry to Rosslare, when he heard knocking from the trailer and thought it was a flat tyre.

The driver has operated on the route regularly for almost a decade. He turned off the motorway and pulled in to a lay-by where heard knocking from the trailer again. “Another lorry driver, who had pulled in to the area, came over to see if everything was OK,” said Mr Delaney. “That lorry driver then heard knocking on the trailer as well.”

The driver raised the alarm with police, who arrived to find 15 people in the back of the trailer. Mr Delaney said their company, based in Cork for 55 years and operating in the UK and across the continent for 45 years, have taken steps to prevent stowaways from boarding their vehicles, including fitting special locks to the doors of their trailers. Hauliers said it is the third time in a week that live stowaways have been found inside an Irish-registers lorry but not all incidents are reported.

The 15 men, all believed to be aged between 16 and 30, presented themselves as Iranian and Iraqi, the UK Home Office said. They were all examined by paramedics at the scene. Fourteen were arrested on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.

One was taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon as a precaution for an issue not linked to containment in the trailer, but was later released into custody. The Delaney Transport driver was arrested on suspicion of assisting illegal entry to the UK but was released after 7pm without charge. The incident comes after eight people were arrested earlier this week by Vietnamese police in connection with the 39 migrants found dead in a lorry in Essex in October.

They were held on Sunday on suspicion of organising people smuggling overseas

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