Desperate 'migrants' spotted fighting for air through hole in back of M25 lorry

Two men who appear to be migrants have been photographed peeking through a hole in the side of a lorry's canopy as it travelled on the M25.

The photograph, taken in the same week 39 migrants from China and Vietnam died in the back of a lorry entering the UK, appears to show the extent of the crisis facing British border officials.

The extraordinary photo shows the two men taking in their new surroundings as one pushes an arm outside of the vehicle while the other perches his hands on the frame of the canopy. Both were seen looking out and waving at other cars as they passed.

The driver who took the images told the Mirror: 'It was in the middle of the day last Wednesday, just before the turn-off for the M40.

'It was a strange sight. It was hard to tell how many were inside, but it looked like they were crammed in tight.'

Migrants are regularly picked up having fled lorries at service areas on the M25, Britain's busiest motorway which services the Home Counties.

Cobham Services in Surrey has seen a spate of incidents. In a single year some 117 people were arrested there on suspicion of immigration offences.

On Wednesday, 39 victims' bodies were found in the back of a lorry in Grays, Essex sparking a national outcry. 

All of the victims have now been moved from the truck in Tilbury Docks to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, for post-mortem examinations to be carried out.

It is said police have begun looking through bags and mobile phones belonging to the migrants. 

The belongings form part of more than 500 pieces of evidence that Essex Police are sifting through in a bid to identify the victims.

It was initially believed the victims were all Chinese nationals, but Vietnamese men and women are now feared to be among the dead. 

Vietnamese ambassador to the UK, Tran Ngoc An, spoke to Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday night before meeting investigators from the National Crime Agency and Essex Police.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore told reporters on Saturday that the ambassador had visited the Civic Centre in Grays to pay tribute to the victims.

DCI Pasmore said the nationality of the victims is not yet known, but the focus is now on the Vietnamese community - although 'there may be other nationalities involved'.

He said there were 'very, very few' identity documents recovered and that police will share fingerprints with Vietnamese authorities in a bid to identify the bodies. 

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said she would give no more details about the nationalities of the victims until formal identification had taken place.

Police have charged truck driver Maurice Robinson with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people in connection with the deaths.

Robinson, 25, of Craigavon, Northern Ireland is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Monday. 

He was the first of those arrested to be charged in what is seen as one of the U.K.'s biggest cases of people smuggling.

Four others have been arrested in the case. U.K. police are struggling to identify the victims, who are believed to have come from Asia, and autopsies are being performed. 

The Vietnamese Embassy in London has set up a hotline for families to call about missing family members.

stella Posted on October 28, 2019 19:06

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