M23 Pease Pottage: Home Office condemns ‘insensitive smugglers’ after five people found in lorry

The Home Office has slammed ‘insensitive’ smugglers after five people were found in a lorry near Crawley. At 11am on Tuesday morning (March 22), officers responded to a report of people in the back of a lorry on the southbound M23.

The lorry was stopped at Pease Pottage Services near Crawley, where the driver was arrested on suspicion of facilitating their illegal entry into the UK. A photo from the scene shows police vehicles surrounding a bus as it approaches the roundabout.

A police spokesman confirmed today that the people in the back of the lorry were arrested as they tried to board a bus just outside the services. Five people – three men and two women – have been arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants and are being handed over to immigration authorities for further investigation.

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The driver has been released on bail until April 18 while investigations continue.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are determined to prosecute callous smugglers who exploit vulnerable people and put them in life-threatening situations. Trafficking people in lorries is extremely dangerous and shows that these criminals have a complete disregard for human life.

“We continue to work with law enforcement to ensure that those who endanger lives for profit are subject to the full force of the law. Our new immigration plan will increase tougher penalties in the Kingdom United for those who facilitate these illegal journeys”.

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