Author- PETER ALLEN FOR MAILONLINE
A criminal network of Romanian lorry drivers made at least £3million smuggling illegal migrants into Britain, it emerged today.
The astonishing figure was released by French police who made 17 arrests while smashing the human trafficking ring.
It extended across Europe, and involved the drivers packing their lorries with a cargo of men, women and children.
‘Migrants were hidden in the storage compartments of vehicles under the guise of being goods being moved by Romanian transport companies,’ said a spokesman for Lille police.
‘The conditions were hugely dangerous, but this did not stop more than a dozen migrants at a time being driven for long distances towards ports.
‘On occasions, the migrants had to be rescued from the conditions they were put in,’ said the spokesman.
A surveillance operation coordinated by the French and involving a number of other police forces including ones in the UK was opened last August.
It logged 259 attempted border crossings over the past year, with 167 thought to have succeeded.