Police arrested nine suspected illegal immigrants at Lakeside after they were spotted trying to escape from a moving lorry.

The bust took place at around 7pm on Friday July 24, after eye-witnesses reported seeing men ‘trying to get out of the back of a moving lorry’.

Officers escorted the lorry to Lakeside carpark and opened a lorry trailer to find nine men aged from 16 to 31, seven from Iraq and two from Iran.

They were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants and taken to Grays Police Station who handed them to the UK Border Force. The driver of the lorry was not detained.

Video 1: Eyewitness video, posted by twitter user Ian Clarke ‏@iandavidclarke, of police making the arrests.

Police resources too 'stretched' for Belhus travellers 'incursion'

Police released a statement to say they were too busy at the Lakeside incident to attend to the 72 caravans at Belhus Park.

The statement read: “Across the 72 hours the Travellers were in Essex there were around 150 other crimes reported in the Thurrock area and officers were arresting nine illegal immigrants attempting to escape from a lorry at Thurrock services at the same time.

“That is in no way an excuse but an explanation that on occasion demand for our services will outstrip the number of officers available.”

Councillor Rob Gledhill raised questions, saying: “So why didn’t the police tell us at the scrutiny meeting we held on the traveller situation? I don’t want to second-guess them as I don’t know how many men it takes to deal with an escaped immigrant, but my question is, how many officers does it take to deal with nine immigrants?”