Dealing with increasing numbers of illegal immigrants arriving in Haverhill is putting a strain on local policing, the town’s commander says.
The comments were made by Inspector Peter Ferrie following the discovery of six more suspected illegal immigrants in Haverhill last week.
“It stretches police resources,” said Insp Ferrie. “we have to collect them and transport them and they take up a lot of cell space.
“ It does cause problems. While we’re dealing with them, the policing of Haverhill is less than it would ordinarily be.”
Insp Ferrie was speaking following the discovery
on January 13 of six men from Eritrea who are suspected of entering the country
Police were called at 3.30pm to reports of people believed to be illegal immigrants seen getting out of a lorry in Hamlet Road.
Police officers attended and the six men were detained and taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre (PIC) to await arrival of UK Border Agency officials.
The driver of the lorry, a 71-year-old man from Estonia, was arrested on suspicion of facilitating unlawful entry to the UK and also taken to Bury PIC. He has since been bailed to return to on Thursday, February 26 pending further enquiries.
The incident follows the discovery of another 10 illegal immigrants in Haverhill on November 21, 2014, another group of 10 on October 9, 2014, and a further 10 on September 5, 2014.
Following the incident on November 21, Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, was prompted to write to James Brockenshire, minister of immigration, to express his concerns.
Speaking about the most recent incident, Mr Hancock expressed his desire to get to the bottom of the issue.
He said: “This is a very serious issue for Haverhill and the surrounding areas.
“I am working with James Brokenshire, the Minister of Immigration, to discuss what can be done to tackle the problem of asylum seekers in Haverhill.
“I am also in contact with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, to ensure safety remains our absolute priority in the local area.
“I am determined to get to the bottom of this and safeguard Haverhill.”
It is understood that Mr Hancock will be meeting Mr Brockenshire in person to discuss the situation in Haverhill.
“It’s a national problem,” said Insp Ferrie. “But it impacts on a local level.
“If we’re dealing with them, we’re not out doing other things.
“There does seem to have been an increase.
“I honestly don’t think it should be a policing problem. We need to strengthen our borders in Calais.
“I wouldn’t even begin to know what it is like in Eritrea, but I think they came looking for a better life.”