St Ives agency in missing immigrants row

IMMIGRATION officials at St Ives are at the centre of a row with Cambridgeshire police about nine immigrants who went missing after being put on a train. Police apprehended nine Afghans at a lorry depot in Fordham on February 5 and liaised with the UK imm

IMMIGRATION officials at St Ives are at the centre of a row with Cambridgeshire police about nine immigrants who went missing after being put on a train.

Police apprehended nine Afghans at a lorry depot in Fordham on February 5 and liaised with the UK immigration service in St Ives about what to do with the men.

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said the force did not have the capacity to take the nine men into custody and instead agreed with the immigration service to direct them to Croydon, 80 miles away, and gave the men train tickets.

However, immigration officials at St Ives claim no such agreement was reached.

A Home Office spokesman said: "It is not true that the Border and Immigration Agency advised the police to tell illegal immigrants in Cambridgeshire to make their own way to Croydon.

"We respond as a matter of priority whenever notified by the police that they have arrested illegal immigrants found in lorries.

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"A new fast-track procedure was recently introduced where all adult males arrested by the police at lorry drops are taken into immigration detention where they are fingerprinted and then dealt with according to BIA procedures and guidelines.