Public chase 13 immigrants after jumping from lorry at Debach Enterprises in Ipswich

Police at Debach in Ransomes Europark, where 13 immigrants jumped out of the back of a lorry.

Police at Debach in Ransomes Europark, where 13 immigrants jumped out of the back of a lorry. - Credit: Archant

Thirteen immigrants seen leaving the back of a lorry in Ransomes Europark yesterday were detained by police after members of the public chased them down the street.

Scores of staff from the Ipswich business complex gathered outside in shock as the men, thought to be from Iraq, fled a lorry and trailer that was delivering goods from mainland Europe to warehouse and distribution company Debach Enterprises at around 3.15pm.

Des Kefford and his fiancée Kerri Castleton were visiting Miss Castleton’s father at Security Foiling in Foxtail Road when they saw the men walking past the office and appeared to be in a rush to leave the business park, Miss Castleton said.

The pair, who are from Ipswich, followed in their car as the men, who were all wearing backpacks, headed towards Blockfoil printers and then Mr Kefford got out of the car and gave chase while Miss Castleton called the police.

“The first thing I thought when I saw them was that I had to catch them,” Mr Kefford said. “I collared them and I told them that there was no point in running and they might as well wait until the police arrived. They kept saying ‘please don’t hurt us’.”

Mr Kefford, 31, said he asked the men to sit on the floor and around three ran away but the others did as he said.

“I do feel for them to be in that situation, it’s not nice, but I didn’t want them to get away,” he added.

Most Read

Officers from Suffolk Constabulary arrived shortly after and arrested 13 individuals, who were later handed over to immigration authorities.

A police spokeswoman said CCTV in the area was checked and showed officers had caught all of the men who left the lorry.

Miss Castleton, 26, said: “Everyone was a bit shocked and came out of the buildings. It was just mouths on the floor, you don’t expect to see that.”

Bee Kemball, managing director of Debach Enterprises, said the men were most likely to have got on the lorry at Calais.

She added: “At around 3.15pm we had a lorry and trailer turn up to the depot with products coming from mainland Europe and as the doors were opened by the driver, around 13 people effectively ran out of the back of the trailer and off down the road.

“We have had it before, it’s an occupational hazard in our industry, even more so at the minute. We haven’t had anything like this happen in over 12 months and I believe this was the largest number of people in one trailer.”

Mrs Kemball said the police were phoned instantly and officers arrived “so quickly it was unbelievable”.

One man, who works in the area and asked not to be named, said there were a couple of immigration vehicles and a police van at the scene at least an hour after the incident.

He added: “My colleague noticed a lot of blue flashing lights and these guys being sat down on the corner of the road. I’ve never seen this happen here before.”