A Stamford baker has told of the “chaotic scenes” after suspected illegal immigrants escaped from a lorry after it was stopped by police.
Barbara Farrow, who runs Stamford Cupcake Company from George Farm House in London Road, was at work on Tuesday when she heard a police helicopter overhead.
A French lorry had been stopped by police on the A1 a few hundred yards away. It turned out to be full of 26 men and boys thought to be illegal immigrants.
Most of them ran away from the lorry; many in the direction of the farm.
Barbara said: “We went outside and a few minutes later police cars came flooding through the yard. One stopped and asked if we had seen people running around the farm. They then came back with dogs.
“They found some of them off the A1. They had come under the underpass. Quite a lot of them were in a bad way.
“Police came to the bakery and asked for water, so we were relaying loads of jugs to them.
“One man did try to make a run for it in front of us all. I don’t know where he came from. The police found him in the fields.
“It was chaotic and not very nice. We didn’t know who they were or if they were dangerous.
“The police were very quick to round them up. There were too many police around for it to be too worrying but it did put me off my baking a bit.”
Cambridgeshire Police had been tracking the vehicle after colleagues in Hertfordshire alerted them to reports of up to 30 possible illegal immigrants in the back of a lorry travelling north on the M11.
All 26 people found in the back of the lorry were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of immigration offences.
Five of those detained were taken to Peterborough City Hospital suffering from potential dehydration. None were thought to be seriously ill.
Four of those arrested were taken to King’s Lynn Police Investigation Centre while 22 were taken to Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough. They have since been released from police custody with no further action and referred to immigration services.
Those arrested were aged between 13 and 49. They came from Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
The driver, a 54-year-old man from Dover, was arrested on suspicion of facilitating immigration and has been bailed to return to Thorpe Wood Police Station on August 17.
Traffic on the A1 was held up for several hours as a result of the incident. Drivers were queuing on the northbound carriageway as far back as the A47 junction at Wansford.