Turkish lorry driver arrested on M25 for people smuggling after 16 migrants found in back of lorry

Turkish lorry driver is arrested on M25 for people smuggling along with 16 migrants caught in back of his truck as he tried to sneak them OUT of UK

  • The 36-year-old Turkish driver is being questioned by the National Crime Agency
  • The 16 migrants were found in back of lorry during an ongoing NCA investigation
  • Officers suspect driver was smuggling migrants out of UK via the Channel ports 

By Katie Feehan For Mailonline

Published: 09:59, 22 March 2021 | Updated: 11:39, 22 March 2021

A Turkish lorry driver has been arrested for people smuggling offences after 16 migrants were found in the back of his vehicle.

The National Crime Agency say the lorry driver is accused of attempting to smuggle the migrants out of the UK illegally via the Channel Ports.

The vehicle was stopped on a slip road off the M25 as part of an ongoing NCA investigation yesterday afternoon.

The M25 anti-clockwise exit slip road had to be closed for a short period of time while the lorry and migrants were dealt with by the NCA and police. 

A Turkish lorry driver has been arrested on suspicion of people smuggling offences after 16 migrants were found in the back of his lorry during a National Crime Agency investigation

Turkish lorry driver arrested on M25 for people smuggling after 16 migrants found in back of lorry

Police say wooden pallets were laid out for the migrants to sit on in the back of the trailer

Police save 4 migrants from the back of lorry 

Turkish lorry driver arrested on M25 for people smuggling after 16 migrants found in back of lorry

Lorry was stopped on Saturday afternoon

Police rescued four people from the back of a lorry on a motorway after one of them phoned the emergency services for help.

Officers stopped the vehicle, believed to have come from Dover, on the M11, near Cambridge, on Saturday, Cambridgeshire Police said.

The force said the people inside were not injured and their welfare is now being handled by immigration officials.

The driver was arrested but has since been interviewed and will face no further action, police said.

It follows two similar incidents last month, the first of which saw three men rescued from a lorry on the A14 near Huntingdon on February 17.

In the second incident, police rescued 18 people from the back of a refrigerated lorry at a service station on the A1M near Peterborough on February 23. 

Police officers from the Metropolitan Police Service and Surrey Police found 16 migrants – all Pakistani, Moroccan and Algerian nationals – huddled on pallets in the lorry’s trailer.

Investigators say the pallets had been laid across the lorry’s load so it could bear the migrants when sitting on top.

The migrants were all arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and will be dealt with by Border Force officials.

The 36-year-old driver is now being questioned by NCA investigators.

He is suspected of planning to move the migrants out of the UK illegally via the Channel ports in Kent.

NCA branch operations manager Chris Hill said: ‘People smuggling networks move migrants in both directions across the border, threatening the security of both the UK and our European neighbours, but also putting lives at risk.

‘Working with our partners across UK law enforcement we are determined to do all we can to disrupt those networks.

Today’s operation is an example of that in action.’

Migrants have been known to seek help getting out of the UK illegally if they think there is a risk they may be deported back home. 

Police have urge people to dial 999 if they see people emerging from a lorry or HGV, if they hear banging from inside a lorry or if they see people entering the back of a lorry.

People should be particularly vigilant at service stations or lay-bys, and should raise the alarm if anything about the vehicle doesn’t seem quite right.