THE discovery of more than 20 migrants in vehicles at the Port of Poole during two separate incidents resulted in 47,000kg of onions being surrendered and destroyed.

Officers from Borough of Poole were forced to dispose of the large quantity of the onion as the goods had been “contaminated during transit”.

The migrants, who were discovered by Border Force staff, identified themselves as Albanian, Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan and were found hidden in the lorries.

The first seizure involved a consignment of 23,000kg entering on a vehicle via the Port of Poole while the more recent case contained a vehicle containing a 24,000kg load.

Borough of Poole said the items had to be disposed of to prevent any contaminated goods from coming into contact with the public.

It is estimated the overall cost of the onions in high street supermarkets is more than £35,000.

Peter Haikin, Regulatory Services Manager, Borough of Poole: : “In June 2017 and January 2018, a total of 47,000kg of onions were surrendered at the Port of Poole following the discovery of clandestine migrants in two vehicles that were being used to transport the goods.

“As a result of the discoveries, all of the produce was disposed of to ensure that no contaminated goods would end up in any restaurants or supermarkets.”

Mr Haikin added: “Borough of Poole continues to work closely with authorities to ensure that produce being provided to restaurants, supermarkets and distributors is safe for consumption.”

The Daily Echo uncovered details on the incidents after studying national statistics released by the Food Standards Agency in relation to local authorities’ food hygiene and standards operations.

A Home Office spokesperson said Border Force officers at Poole detected 18 people, who identified as Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan nationals, hidden in a lorry carrying onions on June 24, 2017.

A further three people, who all identified as Albanian nationals, were found in a truck of onions on January, 29. 2018.

“All the cases have been dealt with by the Home Office in line with the immigration rules,” the spokesperson said.

“Where someone has no right to remain in the UK, action is taken to remove them.”

The Food Standards Agency figures also uncovered that Borough of Poole carried out a successful joint prosecution with Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (SIFCA), in relation to two Poole fishermen who were found in June last year.

The offences, which were under fisheries bylaws and food safety legislation, related to the fishing of clams from the prohibited area of Lytchett Bay.

The Food Standards Agency prohibits the harvesting of shellfish from the area due to bacteriological contamination.