SEVEN stowaways, including four children, were discovered in the back of a lorry heading to Milton Keynes.
Border Force officers in Dunkerque, France, found the group, made up of four Afghans and three Iranians, on Friday hiding in the refrigerated trailer filled with soft cheese destined for the town.
The temperature in the Slovakian trailer was -2C, and the four children, who were all aged between 9 and 16, and one of the adults were judged to be suffering from hypothermia and were taken to hospital, but were given the all-clear and returned to French authorities.
The lorry was due to board a midday ferry and from Dover would have continued its journey to Milton Keynes. It is estimated that had they not been found, the group would have faced at least another seven hours inside the truck.
The Bulgarian lorry driver was interviewed by French police but later released without charge.
Paul Morgan, Border Force Director for South East and Europe, said: “This incident shows the desperate lengths that people will go to in their attempts to reach the UK. It also shows the complete disregard for safety and wellbeing shown by the people-smugglers who no-doubt helped get them into this lorry.
“The group had already spent several hours in sub-zero conditions when Border Force officers discovered them. They had no way of getting out.
“If the lorry had carried on unchecked then this could’ve had fatal consequences, especially for the children.”