Outsourcing company Serco has been forced to make a grovelling apology to UK taxpayers and the Home Office after it sent a lavish stretch Hummer limousine to pick up migrants seeking asylum seekers.

The outsourcing giant was put on the defensive after pictures emerged of the 16-seat Hummer picking up a number of people to take them to be processed in Manchester. The Home Office has blasted the contractor over the blunder and it has been confirmed the cost of the Hummer was absorbed by Serco rather than the taxpayer.

A Home Office spokeswoman told IBTimes UK: "This incident was totally inappropriate and Serco has apologised. The terms of our contract with Serco requires them to take all reasonable steps to ensure transport is appropriate. We have reminded the company of their contractual obligations and expressed our strong disapproval."

The village of Longford in greater London, a transit point for asylum seekers, has received increased media attention following a BBC Inside Out documentary on asylum seekers passing through temporary housing at the village's Heathrow Lodge hotel .

Jenni Halliday, Serco's contract director for Compass, has said in a statement to IBTimes UK: "The transport provided, on this one occasion in July, was clearly inappropriate. There was no additional cost to the taxpayer. We have apologised to the Home Office and our internal processes have been changed to ensure that this will not happen again."

Serco has highlighted the stretch limo was not approved by anybody within its team. It said in a statement: "Due to the number of asylum seekers travelling, the transport was contracted out to a third party who in turn used a subcontractor. Serco is not involved in the management or operations at Heathrow Lodge."