Thirty illegals found in truck after 60-mile chase

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The Independent Online

A lorry driver was charged yesterday with smuggling illegal immigrants into Britain through the port of Dover. Thirty Bangladeshi men were discovered in the back of a truck after a lengthy chase by police.

A lorry driver was charged yesterday with smuggling illegal immigrants into Britain through the port of Dover. Thirty Bangladeshi men were discovered in the back of a truck after a lengthy chase by police.

The driver was charged with failing to stop, dangerous driving and resisting arrest, in addition to 28 charges of "facilitation" of illegal immigration. The cases of two further immigrants were still being looked into.

Kent police said a "stinger" was laid to burst the tyres of a 7.5-ton truck after it was pursued at speed for an hour along 60 miles of a motorway and a main road in Kent.

The lorry failed to stop after a patrol car tried to pull it over as it made its way towards London on the M20 motorway after leaving Dover, where officers had alerted police.

The vehicle finally came to rest in a ditch at Cuxton, Kent in the early hours of Saturday morning. A group of 30 men found in the back of the lorry were handed over to immigration officials.

The Home Office said the men were Bangladeshis, from youths in their late teens to men in their early 40s. One of them is claiming political asylum.

Six of the men have already been returned to France. Another 23 were due to be taken back today.

A police officer was taken to hospital with a back injury and two police cars were damaged in the chase. The driver was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm.

Julian Lee, 26, a supermarket stock controller from Romford, Essex, was bailed to appear at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on 4 August.

Drivers of lorries carrying illegal immigrants face fines of £2,000 per occupant under a civil penalty which came into force in April, unless they show their load was adequately secured and checked.

Operators of commercial vehicles must demonstrate that they recorded details of their own checks made during a journey. Under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 they must not board a ship if they suspect their vehicle's security has been breached.

In June, 58 Chinese illegal immigrants were found dead in the back of a truck which arrived at Dover from Holland via Belgium. They had asphyxiated during the journey.

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