Acting on intelligence, and supported by officers from Lincolnshire police, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) and HM Revenue and Customs, UK Border Agency officers stopped 2 vehicles on the A52 just outside Grantham at 06:00.

Officers checked the immigration status of all 24 occupants of the 2 vehicles. Fingerprint scanners were used to confirm identities in some cases.

They found 11 men who are Indian nationals who had either overstayed visas or entered the UK illegally. The other was a Pakistani man was also identified as being in the country illegally.

They were arrested and taken to Grantham police station for further questioning. They will then be transferred to immigration detention centres pending their removal from the UK.

Both vehicles were severely overcrowded, placing the safety of the occupants at risk, and breaching transport regulations. This was brought to the attention of the GLA as a critical breach of their licensing conditions.

The agencies involved in the operation are continuing their investigations but it is suspected that the men were travelling to work on a farm in Lincolnshire.

Rachel Challis, from the agency’s Lincolnshire local immigration team, said:

‘We are cracking down on immigration abuse across the county. Any foreign national who is in the UK illegally should be in no doubt that they will be found, arrested and removed from the country. Businesses that take on illegal workers should also be warned that they face heavy fines and possible prosecution.’