UK Police Rescue 18 People From Refrigerated Lorry

February 23, 2021 Updated: February 23, 2021

British police rescued 18 people from the back of a refrigerated lorry on Tuesday morning, Cambridgeshire police said.

Police received a call at about 11:30 a.m. from the driver of the HGV, who had noticed there were people on board.

Officers found the lorry at the Haddon services on the A1M near Peterborough and rescued 18 people from the back of the vehicle.

The 18 people, none of whom were injured, have been transferred into the care of immigration services, Cambridgeshire Constabulary said in a statement.

It follows a similar incident last week when three men were rescued from the back of an HGV on the A14 near Brampton, also in Cambridgeshire.

The migrants called police from inside the lorry, saying that they were suffocating and struggling to breathe.

The three men, who were “safe and not injured,” were transferred to immigration services.

The cases highlight that “slavery and trafficking are real and police need the public’s help,” Cambridgeshire police said on Tuesday.

Police called on the public to look out for warning signs and call 999 when they spot abnormalities.

Warning signs include hearing banging from the inside of a lorry, and seeing people stealthily emerging from or going inside the back of a lorry.

The police say members of the public should immediately call 999 and take a note of the vehicle registration number if they notice any of these signs.

Human smugglers often hide illegal immigrants inside UK-bound lorries to evade customs checks, a practice that puts the migrants’ lives in danger.

In October 2019, 39 Vietnamese men, women, and children were found to have suffocated to death in the back of a refrigerated truck as they tried to make their way to Britain.

Tran Thi Hien cries while following an ambulance carrying her daughter's coffin during the funeral ceremony at her village in Nghe An province
Tran Thi Hien, mother of Anna Bui Thi Nhung, one of 39 Vietnamese people found dead in a truck in England in October 2019, cries while following an ambulance carrying her daughter’s coffin during the funeral ceremony at her village in Nghe An province, Vietnam, on Nov. 30, 2019. (Kham/Reuters)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter at the time that he was “appalled” by the deaths.

Last month, seven men were sentenced to a total of 93 years and eight months in prison after they were found guilty of manslaughter of the Vietnamese migrants.

In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in the back of a truck in Dover, England. The driver was later found guilty of manslaughter.

Jack Philips and Lily Zhou contributed to this report.