Lancashire men charged with human trafficking after 29 Vietnamese people are found squeezed into back of van on M5
Two Lancashire men have been arrested and charged with human trafficking after 29 Vietnamese people were found in the back of a van stopped by police on the M5.
Frank Walling, 72, from Colne and 55-year-old Glen Martin Bennett, from Burnley, have been charged with human trafficking under the Modern Slavery Act.
Two other men - Jon Ransom, 63 and Keith Royston Plummer, 62, both from Kent - have also been charged with human trafficking and assisting unlawful immigration.
Police said they have gained custody extensions on all four suspects who await further questioning.
Devon and Cornwall Police arrested the men after a large number of people were spotted getting into the back of a white van from a boat in Newlyn, Cornwall.
The suspect van was stopped by police near Cullompton in Devon on Friday, April 12 at around 9am.
The men, from Kent and Lancashire, will appear before magistrates in Truro, Cornwall, today (Monday, April 15).
Police said a mix of men, women and children were among the 29 people found squeezed into the back of a Luton-type van.
It has not been confirmed whether the van and its illegal human cargo were intending to travel to Lancashire.
A force spokesman said the foreign nationals had been taken to a specially-created detention centre where they will be interviewed before being deported.
The National Crime Agency, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement have been informed and are assisting with the police investigation.
A British Red Cross spokesperson said: “Our volunteers are continuing to support a number of people who are the alleged victims of human trafficking.
"We are providing them with practical and emotional support at a rest centre while the police conduct their investigations."