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Albanian stowaways arrested at Sheppey's Kingsferry Bridge

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Three stowaways have been arrested after trying to smuggle themselves into Britain on a boat.

The men, believed to be from Albania, were hiding on board a cargo vessel sailing to Ridham Dock near the Isle of Sheppey.

Border Force officers were sent to meet the vessel, the 2,451-tonne Luxembourg-registered Aberdeen, as it arrived.

The Aberdeen cargo ship. Picture: Vessel Finder (9425636)
The Aberdeen cargo ship. Picture: Vessel Finder (9425636)

But as it sailed up the Swale two of the suspects jumped ship near the Kingsferry Bridge.

An eyewitness said: "Two immigrants jumped a boat, climbed up the bank and ran along the railway tracks over the Kingsferry Bridge towards Sheppey.

"Railway engineers were trying to sort it out but couldn’t catch them."

Kingsferry Bridge, Isle of Sheppey (9404247)
Kingsferry Bridge, Isle of Sheppey (9404247)

Officers from Kent Police and British Transport Police combined forces and swooped on the area.

One team scoured the Sheppey marshes and another searched the water in two patrol boats.

A spokeswoman for British Transport Police said: "We assisted Kent police following reports of two trespassers on the line near Queenborough at 10.19am."

Police launches on the Swale. Picture: Any Homden (9403981)
Police launches on the Swale. Picture: Any Homden (9403981)

Kent Police said: "We received a report that two men, believed to be migrants, had got off a boat near the Kingsferry Bridge at 10.14am on Tuesday.

"Officers attended the scene alongside crews from the South East Coast Ambulance Service and the Home Office.

"Following an area search, two men were detained and were handed into the care of the Home Office."

Ridham Dock (9404258)
Ridham Dock (9404258)

A Home Office spokesman said: "Border Force officers met a ship at Ridham, Kent, today following reports of three suspected stowaways on board

"En route to Ridham and near the Kingsferry Bridge, two of the suspected stowaways left the boat.

"They were subsequently located by officers from Kent Police and handed to Border Force.

"Three men who presented themselves as Albanian have all been refused entry to the UK and have been detained pending their removal from the country."

The boat is believed to be carrying gypsum for the Knauf plasterboard factory. It had recently been in Gijon and Bilbao, both in northern Spain.

The ship was built in 2009 and was due to dock at noon.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheerness

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