Harwich shipping container: 68 people found crammed into box at port

Seven were taken to Colchester General Hospital

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The Independent Online

Sixty-eight people have been found crammed into a shipping container in the port of Harwich, medical responders have said.

Seven people were taken to hospital and 61 others assessed by paramedics working for the East of England Ambulance Service.

The service says it received a call at around 10pm last night about people locked in the container at Harwich International Port.

The seven people requiring intensive medical treatment were removed to Colchester General Hospital in Essex, while the remaining people were handed over to border officials.

A spokesperson told the PA news agency: “The patients who were taken to hospital were suffering from abdominal and chest pains and were feeling faint.

“None are in a life-threatening or serious condition. The remaining 61 were released to the UK Border Agency officials.”

Two of the container's passengers were pregnant women and none were in a serious or life threatening condition, the spokesperson added.

Four Polish nationals driving lorries were arrested at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Home Office, which has command of the UK Border Force, said the people in the container included 15 children.

The majority of those found from Afghanistan, while 22 were from China, 10 Vietnam, and one Russia.

“We can confirm Border Force officers discovered 53 adults and 15 children during a proactive search of four lorries which had arrived at Harwich port from Holland on Thursday evening," the Home Office spokesperson said.

“Seven of those discovered were taken to hospital as a precaution, before being released. All 68 individuals are now in the care of Border Force.

“Four Polish nationals, who were driving the vehicles, have been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. They have been taken to separate police stations and will now be questioned by the Home Office’s criminal investigations team while enquiries continue.”

Last August two people were charged of the death of a Sikh refugee from Afghanistan found in a shipping container at Tilbury docks, also in Essex.

Additional reporting by PA