Author- Bedfordshire police
Thirty lorries have been stopped as part of a police-led operation to tackle illegal immigration and human trafficking.
We worked with the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement, Central Bedfordshire Council, East of England Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance to carry out the searches at Toddington Services yesterday (Thursday).
The force has received a number of reports of people entering the country illegally in lorries and alighting at Toddington Services.
Police used this information to target the schedules of vehicles from particular countries in Thursday’s operation.
Twenty-two lorries were searched by police throughout the day.
Two of those that were stopped had unpaid fines and were passed over to Immigration Enforcement.
Another lorry was also flagged for safety standards to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Changes were made at the service station before the driver was allowed to continue his journey.
Chief Inspector Ian Taylor said: “We know that Toddington Services is being used by human traffickers for clandestine entry.
“This is an absolutely heinous and vile crime and that’s why we wanted to run this proactive operation; to potentially protect some incredibly vulnerable people, as well as identify those peddling in this human misery.
“It was great to work closely in partnership with all the different agencies in order to execute this operation.
“I hope this sends a strong signal to the traffickers that Bedfordshire is a hostile place to commit any form of exploitation, and we will continue to run operations to tackle it.”
Anyone with concerns that someone may be a victim of trafficking, or has information about trafficking, should report it to us on 101 or confidentially to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. In an emergency, always call 999.