FIVE would-be illegal immigrants were prevented from heading to the region after being found inside a lorry.

The five men, all from Eritrea in eastern Africa, were caught hiding in the vehicle bound for Flint by UK Border Agency officers at Calais last Wednesday, January 26.

They were inside a Polish-registered lorry, being discovered by officers hiding among a load of paper towels.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: “After the find was made, at 11am on January 26, the stowaways were handed over to the French border police and the vehicle was allowed to continue on its journey to its destination in Flint.

“The Polish driver and the haulage company now each face a potential fine of up to £2,000 per stowaway if they are unable to prove they took steps to secure the vehicle.”

Officers used carbon dioxide detectors to gain an indication people were inside the lorry before they were discovered.

Flint Coleshill councillor Alex Aldridge said he was aware of previous incidents involving illegal immigrants heading towards the Flint area.

He said: “This incident shows the importance of the work that border agency officials do. I would urge anyone who sees somebody they believe may not be legally living here to contact the police.

“This is also for the individual’s benefit, as they may be vulnerable and may be in danger of being exploited.”

Carole Upshall, UK Border Agency director for the South and Europe, believes the incident highlights the importance of the service they carry on.

She said: “This incident shows why we base UK Border Agency staff in France – to stop would-be illegal immigrants before they can reach the UK. Our strong presence in French ports like Calais helps protect the whole of the UK from people illegally entering the country.

“As well as using carbon dioxide probes, our officers also use heartbeat detectors, sniffer dogs and detailed searches to find people who attempt to hide in vehicles.”