By Denna Bowman
An attempt to smuggle 11 illegal immigrants into the UK in a lorry load of tyres has been foiled by British officials in Calais.
The UK Border Agency officers uncovered the men, who were hidden in the truck which was crammed with motorsport tyres, at the end of last month.
On 30 April, shortly after 8am, officers noted the HGV padlock appeared to be broken on a French registered lorry, according to the Home Office report.
Using highly sensitive heart beat detection equipment, the British officers discovered the 11 well-hidden men among the tyres.
The stowaways were fingerprinted, photographed, refused entry to the UK and then handed over to the French police.
The lorry was allowed to continue its journey to the UK, however, the driver and company may each face a civil penalty of up to £2,000 for each “clandestine” passenger.
In a similar incident on 16 April, officers stopped a German-registered lorry loaded with tyres and, using the probe, detected “very high” readings to the rear of its trailer. Inside they found nine Afghani men, three Iraqis and one Palestinian in back with the tyres which were destined for Liverpool.
UKBA collected more than £1.5m in fines during 2008.