Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Immigrants found in coffin truck

Three people hid themselves among dozens of boxed coffins heading to the UK in a van from Bulgaria
Three people hid themselves among dozens of boxed coffins heading to the UK in a van from Bulgaria

Border Force officers got a Halloween surprise when they discovered three would-be illegal immigrants trying to enter Britain in a lorry full of coffins.

The trio had hidden themselves among the dozens of boxed coffins which were loaded into the van from Bulgaria - across the border from Dracula's Transylvania home.

Search officers sometimes use heartbeat detectors to investigate suspicious vehicles but it was a sniffer dog, Mitzy, that located the three, who were Eritrean nationals.

The discovery was made on Monday when Border Force officers searched the Bulgarian-registered lorry at the port of Dunkerque in northern France.

The truck, which was waiting to board a ferry to the UK, was carrying coffins bound for a funeral director in Hounslow, west London.

The stowaways were handed over to the French border police and the vehicle was allowed to continue on to its destination.

Paul Morgan, Border Force director for the South East and Europe, said: "This was an unusual type of discovery, but in the past we have found people hiding in an array of freight, ranging from dog biscuits, bathtubs and now coffins.

"The incident shows exactly why we base Border Force staff in France - to stop would-be illegal immigrants before they can reach the UK.

"Our strong presence in French ports and close collaboration with the French authorities helps protect the whole of the UK from people attempting to enter the country illegally.

"As well as using sniffer dogs, officers also use heartbeat detectors, carbon dioxide probes and physical searches to find people hiding in vehicles."

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