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Man held over immigrants in lorry

A man has been arrested after 24 suspected African illegal immigrants were found in the back of a lorry near one of Britain's main gateways.

The suspect was held on suspicion of "facilitation offences" following the discovery of the Eritrean nationals in the HGV in Whitfield, near Dover, Kent, at 11.51am.

Paramedics checked them over at the scene but none needed to be admitted to hospital, South East Coast Ambulance Service said.

A Port of Dover spokesman confirmed: "A vehicle has been detained at Whitfield containing 24 Eritrean nationals.

"Port of Dover Police assisted and the matter has now been passed over to Kent Police and Border Force."

The discovery comes amid heightened concern across the English Channel about the number of migrants using Calais as a staging post to try to reach the UK.

Hundreds of migrants, mainly from Africa, are camping or living in squats there, which has led to clashes on the streets in northern France.

Local officials have called on Britain to do more to share the burden of immigration, with the deputy mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, appealing recently to the historic Entente Cordiale between the two nations.

Mr Mignonet has said that the port town had been saddled with an image of a "theatre of war", as he called on David Cameron to "come and see what we face".

And it has been reported that Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart was planning a state-funded camp away from local residents amid the "unbearable strain" of the high numbers of migrants.

Meanwhile, charities working with migrants in northern France have spoken of being overwhelmed by the rising numbers massing there hoping to cross the Channel.

The issue was further highlighted earlier this month after dozens of migrants tried to storm a ferry bound for Britain.

Riot police were deployed after up to 100 people breached security and tried to run up the ramp of the cross-Channel ferry.

And British traveller Sue Taber, 59, told how she drove across from Spain to her home in Kent via Calais and found a stowaway had hidden behind her driver's seat.

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