Desperate migrants 'struggling to breathe' in back of lorry spark rescue mission

1 July 2021, 19:29 | Updated: 1 July 2021, 21:35

A group of migrants were found in a lorry on the M25 on Thursday
A group of migrants were found in a lorry on the M25 on Thursday. Picture: Surrey Police RPU
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A group of desperate migrants who were "struggling to breathe" were found in the back of a lorry on the M25 on Thursday.

Police were alerted to the plight of the 12 occupants at around 11am after receiving phone calls saying people were inside the vehicle.

The lorry was stopped on the section of the motorway near Chertsey following a report that those on board were "struggling to breathe".

All those on board were checked by paramedics before being taken into police custody, where immigration officials will look into their case.

A spokesperson for Surrey Police said: "Officers were given a very limited description of a lorry, and were told that people on board were struggling to breathe.

"This resulted in police needing to stop a number of lorries quickly to try and identify the one involved.

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"The correct lorry was stopped between J10 and 11 on the anti-clockwise carriageway around 11:30am.

"Eleven men and one woman, believed to be clandestine migrants, were found in the back of the lorry.

"They have been checked by paramedics at the roadside and taken into police custody. Immigration services will be dealing with the matter.

"Two lanes of the motorway were closed whilst officers attended the incident, but have since been reopened."

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After several hours of traffic and disruption, the force's roads policing unit confirmed junctions 10 and 11 of the M25 reopened at 1:45pm but that the lanes were still very busy.

No arrests have been made and the Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Traffic news service INRIX later said: "Traffic returned to normal, earlier police incident on M25 clockwise between J10 A3 (Wisley Interchange) and J11 A320 St Peters Way (Chertsey).

"Lanes one and two (of four) were closed, traffic was already queueing due to a lorry having a tyre changed just after J11.

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