THREE would-be illegal immigrants have been prevented from entering the country after UK Border Agency officers found them hiding inside a lorry bound for Somerset.

The three men, all from Eritrea, were discovered in the early hours of Tuesday, February 22, after staff working in the French port of Calais were alerted to their presence by Jack – a body detection sniffer dog.

The Romanian-registered lorry was then searched, and the three stowaways were found hiding among its load of wood.

They were handed over to the French border police and the vehicle was allowed to continue on its journey to Axbridge.

The Romanian driver and the haulage company now each face a potential fine of up to £2,000 per stowaway if they are unable to prove they took steps to secure the vehicle.

Carole Upshall, UK Border Agency Director for the South and Europe, said: “This incident shows why we base UK Border Agency staff in France – to stop would-be illegal immigrants before they can reach the UK.

“Our strong presence in French ports like Calais helps protect the whole of the UK from people illegally entering the country.

“As well as using detection dogs, our officers also use heartbeat detectors, carbon dioxide probes and detailed manual searches to find people who attempt to hide in vehicles.”