Health scare prompts new measures to deal with illegal immigrants reaching Northampton industrial estate

Emergency services at the scene of the incident on Brackmills Industrial Estate in September 2015

Emergency services at the scene of the incident on Brackmills Industrial Estate in September 2015

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A logistics firm in Northampton whose staff were placed in quarantine after the discovery of illegal immigrants is considering getting guard dogs to check lorries when they arrive.

Seven illegal immigrants were discovered at the Decathlon depot on Brackmills Industrial Estate in September. There were concerns raised about the immigrants having a contagious disease. Staff were placed in quarentine and the public was warned not to approach the scene.

Representatives of business on Brackmills meet to discuss issues with illegal immigrants

Representatives of business on Brackmills meet to discuss issues with illegal immigrants

Now a series of measures are being introduced by Brackmills Business Improvement District after discussions with the police.

At last week’s event, Northamptonshire Police announced that they will pilot new policies and procedures on Brackmills and organise a ‘real time’ incident training scenario in partnership with the fire and ambulance services on the estate in the next few months.

Talking to Brackmills businesses, PC Steve Roffe from Northamptonshire Police said: “If you suspect illegal immigrants call 999, make sure your staff understand the potential risks and ensure we have all the information we need.

“We have designed new ‘Clandestine Lorry Drop’ forms and are asking all Brackmills businesses to complete these if they suspect any illegal immigrants are on board or if a vehicle has been tampered with. This will help us gather intelligence which we will share with the UK border agency, to ensure vehicles are checked when they come back into the UK.

“We are asking Brackmills businesses to get involved, give us feedback and we will later roll out these policies to other estates in the county”

Decathlon operations manager Zsolt Kabai said: “The refugees were escorted out of the lorry by police and because disease was suspected our staff were placed in quarantine for several hours after the incident.

“It was an eye-opening moment for us and although we have cameras and general security measures we realised there were holes in our system. We have since contacted major security companies and are looking into guard dogs, to check the lorries before they enter our premises, and heat scanning systems. We want to reduce the risk of this happening again and are delighted the police have taken this incident so seriously and are introducing new policies to tackle these types of incidents.”

Sara Homer, chairwoman of the Brackmills BID, added: “After working closely with Decathlon it became clear that we have a real challenge here and that this needs tackling head on for the safety of staff and to ensure that businesses are not adversely impacted. I have spoken to lots of businesses on the estate and while there is sympathy for the immigrants many employers are afraid for the safety of their staff.”

“We’d like to thank Northamptonshire Police for coming along to discuss this issue with businesses in more detail.”