Three men have been arrested for immigration offences after 15 people were found hidden in a lorry at New Spitalfields Market.

Officers were called to the Leyton market, run by the City of London Corporation, at 10.56pm yesterday evening (Thursday, February 23).

Three people, including the van’s driver, a 41-year-old Spanish man, were then arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry to the UK.

Police said 15 people, mainly from Iraq, were found among pallets of fruit inside the lorry, which had travelled to Britain from Spain.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

15 people were found hidden in the lorry

A family of five removed from the truck were later taken to hospital to receive medical treatment.

A Met spokesman said: “Police were called to New Spitalfields Market on Thursday evening to respond to reports of people inside a lorry.

“Three males were arrested for immigration offences. The UK Border Agency have been informed and will investigate”.

The Home Office said enquiries were underway and any individuals who did not have a right to stay in Britain would be deported.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "Seven people who presented themselves as being from Iran and Iraq were encountered by police. 

"Two men were arrested for suspected immigration offences and remain in police custody.

"A family group of five, including three children, was also encountered. 

"One child was taken to hospital and remains under observation - the family will be released into temporary accommodation.

"The Home Office will progress their cases according to the immigration rules."