An astute driver helped save the lives of eight Syrian refugess who were deydrating in the back of a lorry.
The stowaways had crept into the back of a lorry from Croatia and survived by eating part of its cargo of dried pasta.
But by the time time the truck reached Milton Keynes a few days later, the men, with the pasta swelling in their stomachs, were desperately in need of water.
Motorist Darryl Gatland was behind the lorry as it left the MI and heard banging noises coming from inside.
“I thought it seemed suspicious so I followed it into Milton Keynes and called the police,” said 38-year-old Darryl, who lives on Oxley Park.
Following police instructions, he flashed his lights at the lorry driver in a bid to get him to pull over.
“We stopped literally in the middle of Newport Road near Kingston. The driver spoke no English, so I used Google Translate on my phone to tell him that he had illegal immigrants in the back of his lorry.”
Police arrived to escort the lorry to a safe place and the procession came to a halt in Magna Park industrial area.
“Police officers opened the doors and inside were eight men, aged between 25 and 35. They were all in a bad way,” said Darryl.
“They were severely dehydrated and hardly had the strength to get out. They couldn’t stand on their own to be searched and they had to be held up.
Darryl said police officers were “gentle” with the men and gave them water before loading them into a police van. Passers-by also produced much-needed bottled water.
One witness said: “It was lucky for the men that somebody heard them banging. it probably saved their lives.”
Darryl said: “I don’t think the men had intended to be discovered, but they’d reached the stage where they could not have survived much longer.”