Harwich International Port
The 68 people were found in a container in Harwich International PortGetty

Four Polish lorry drivers have been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences following the discovery of 68 people found locked in a container in an Essex shipping port.

The 53 adults, including two pregnant women, and 15 children were discovered following routine checks by the Border Force at Harwich International Port.

Seven of those found in the container were taken to hospital suffering from "abdominal and chest pains and were feeling faint". They taken to Colchester General Hospital with non-life threatening or serious conditions.

The remaining 61 were released to Border Force officials for assessment.

The Home Office said the suspected stowaways - 35 Afghan nationals, 22 Chinese nationals, 10 people from Vietnam and one Russian - had arrived in the UK after travelling from from Holland.

An Essex Police spokesperson said: "The ambulance service contacted police at 10.15pm on Thursday 4 June to reports they had been called to deal with 68 patients who had been discovered in containers on a ferry from the Hook of Holland at Harwich Port.

"Essex Police made contact with staff at Border Force, who were already in attendance, and they are taking the lead as the incident relates to immigration offences.

"We are continuing to liaise with Border Force while their inquiries continue."

Last August, 35 people were found inside a shipping container in Essex's Tilbury Docks, one of whom had died.

Three people, lorry drivers Stephen McLaughlin and Timothy Murphy and third suspect Martin McGlinchey were charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the UK following the incident.