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Fifteen people discovered in back of lorry in Wiltshire arrested on suspicion of immigration offences

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Fifteen people were arrested after being discovered in the back of a lorry in Wiltshire (Twitter//@bbcwiltshire)

Police in Wiltshire have arrested 15 people on suspicion of immigration offences after they were discovered in the back of a lorry.

Just weeks after 39 Vietnamese immigrants were discovered dead in a lorry in Essex, Wiltshire Police closed the A350 at the Kington Langley crossroads near Chippenham after being called by a member of the public shortly before 8.30pm on Wednesday.

Officers attended the scene and 15 people - all believed to be men aged between 16 and 30 - were located in the rear of the vehicle.

Ambulance service staff carried out initial medical checks on the group and all but one were deemed fit and well and were taken into custody.

One person was taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon as a precaution but was later released into custody.

A man in his 50s from Ireland has also been arrested on suspicion of assisting with illegal entry in the country.

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Wiltshire Police said the force was "not clear" about the nationalities of the 15 at this stage.

Superintendent Steve Cox said: "Members of the public would have noticed a large number of emergency services in the vicinity of the A350 last night while we dealt with this incident and the road was closed for approximately four hours while we carried out enquiries at the scene and recovery was arranged for the lorry, which was a hard-sided large goods vehicle.

"We are working closely with partner agencies as we conduct further enquiries - I fully understand that recent tragic events elsewhere in the country will mean there will be increased interest and heightened concern regarding this incident.

The discovery comes just weeks after 39 immigrants were discovered dead inside a lorry in Essex (PA)

"I'd like to thank all emergency services who responded last night - as with all incidents, we didn't know the scale of what we would potentially be dealing with and all first responders showed true professionalism at the scene.

"I would also like to extend my thanks to the vigilant member of the public who initially reported this incident to us - it is thanks to them that this incident was resolved swiftly and safely with no serious casualties.”

Eight people were arrested earlier this week by Vietnamese police in connection with the 39 migrants found dead in a lorry in Grays last month.

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

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