More than 40 illegal immigrants detained in four days after incidents in Haverhill, Ingham and Thurrock

Two men arrested

Two men arrested - Credit: Archant

Three lorry drivers have been arrested after 43 illegal immigrants were detained in Suffolk and Essex within four days of each other.

All the drivers had entered England through Dover, fuelling concerns about an influx of people trying to enter the country illegally from France.

The arrests came after two separate incidents in west Suffolk and one in Thurrock, Essex.

A total of 39 males from Eritrea were detained, along with four from Sudan.

Suffolk Constabulary confirmed it handed 25 people to the Immigration Service after they were found in Haverhill and at Ingham near Bury St Edmunds.

On January 13 six men were seen were taken to Bury St Edmunds police investigation centre after decamping from the rear of an HGV.

Last Saturday 19 males, including two children, were detained after being seen walking on the A134 from Ingham towards Thetford.

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On the same day Essex Police contacted immigration officials to report 18 men - four from Sudan, the remainder from Eritrea – were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants at Thurrock. A 44-year-old lorry driver from Sheerness was also detained.

Charlotte Parker, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Police in Haverhill were called at 3.30pm on January 13, to reports of people believed to be illegal immigrants seen getting out of a lorry in Hamlet Road.

“Six men were detained and taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre (PIC).

“The driver of the lorry, a 71-year-old man from Estonia, was arrested on suspicion of facilitating unlawful entry to the UK. He has been bailed to return to on February 26.

“On January 17, police were alerted by several members of the public who had seen a group of men walking from Ingham in the direction of Thetford. Nineteen men were detained.

“On January 19, police arrested a 39-year-old man from Poland was suspicion of facilitating illegal entry to the UK. He has been bailed to return to on April 15.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We work closely with the police to tackle illegal immigration and continue to strengthen the security of our border to stop those who have no right to enter the UK.

“In the year to April 2014 Border Force officers based at UK ports and at our juxtaposed controls in France and Belgium prevented more than 19,000 attempts to enter the country illegally – a rise of more than 60% on the previous year.”