One hospitalised after 13 people found in lorry at Dartford Crossing

The incident comes after 35 people were found in a shipping container in Tilbury, Essex, earlier this month

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The Independent Online

One person has been taken to hospital after 13 people were discovered in a lorry in Kent, amid suspicions they are illegal immigrants.

The group were discovered at around 11:30am at the Dartford Crossing.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) spokeswoman said the person taken to the Darent Valley Hospital was not believed to be in a life-threatening condition. The remaining 12 were taken to Dover Immigration Removal Centre.

Information regarding the nationalities and sexes of those on board was not immediately available. However, it is understood that no children were involved in the incident.

Kent Police confirmed they were called to a report of suspected illegal immigrants but that the immigration service was managing the investigation.

A Secamb spokeswoman said: “We attended the Dartford Crossing at 11.38am ( check time-says pm above) to reports of a number of individuals who had been found in the back of a lorry.

"We sent two ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team (Hart). We were unsure what the situation was."

The Home Office has said that the stowaways will be questioned later.

Officials warned people tempted to put their lives in the hands of organised smugglers that they were putting the lives of themselves and their families at risk.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We work closely with the police to tackle illegal immigration. Where someone is found to have no legal right to remain in the UK we will take action to remove them.

“Drivers and hauliers must take adequate steps to secure their vehicles from illegal immigrants trying to smuggle themselves across the border.

"If a driver does not take these steps - and is found with people hiding in their vehicle - they will be issued with a civil penalty."

The discovery comes after 35 Afghan Sikhs, including 13 children, were found in a container at Tilbury Docks in Essex earlier this month.

Watch: 35 Afghan Sikhs found at Tilbury Docks

The group are all believed to have fled Afghanistan after suffering persecution.

Two lorry drivers - Stephen McLaughlin, 34, of Limavady, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and Timothy Murphy, 33 of Elmgrove, Londonderry - have since been charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the UK.

Additional reporting by PA