Hunt for stowaways

A GROUP of stowaways are on the run in Suffolk today after escaping from a lorry trailer at Britain's busiest port.Portworkers at Felixstowe found the soft-sided trailer's canvas cover slashed, but no-one inside.

A GROUP of stowaways are on the run in Suffolk today after escaping from a lorry trailer at Britain's busiest port.

Portworkers at Felixstowe found the soft-sided trailer's canvas cover slashed, but no-one inside.

However, the illegal immigrants had left evidence of their stay and journey - and had been camping out in a purpose-built shelter created among the pallets of food in the trailer.

There were also bottles of urine, human excrement and food wrappers.

The trailer was full of cartons of pasta and it is understood some of this had to be scrapped after it was decided it was no longer safe for public consumption.

A portworker said the Lithuanian trailer had been parked at Trinity Terminal waiting for a driver with a tractor unit to collect it.

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“The side of the trailer had been slashed - presumably by the immigrants as they got out to make their escape. A search has been made of the port but they were nowhere to be found.

“The trailer was packed with cartons of pasta but about three-parts of the way down the trailer there was a section where the packets stopped and there was an open gap where the immigrants had been living during their journey.”

Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said the trailer had originally come through the port of Dover and then been driven up to Felixstowe as a delivery, from where its cargo would be distributed.

“We don't know if there was just one person inside or how many - but it would not have been many because it was not a large space,” he said.

“The tear in the sheet was noticed at Felixstowe but we don't know if that happened here. In all reasonable likelihood whoever was inside may have got out between Dover and here and never reached Felixstowe at all, but we just don't know.”

Port CCTV had been analysed but there was no sign of anyone acting suspiciously.

Factfile: Stowaways

Being a stowaway may seem romantic, but for today's human cargo of the high seas it is a risky business - with many of those secreting themselves on ships, in containers and trailers, dying during the journey.

Desperation drives people to leave their war-torn and poverty-stricken homelands in search of a new life in Britain, often paying huge sums to criminals to arrange their trips.

Six years ago up to 500 stowaways a year were being found at Felixstowe - with others getting through undiscovered - as war and crisis swept through eastern Europe. Today just a handful a year are discovered.

In one horrific incident a large family - including young children - was found inside a container. Their food had run out and they were surviving by licking the condensation of the walls.

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