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By Matthew Cooper, Press Association

By Matthew Cooper, Press Association

A motorway was closed off by traffic police after a suspected illegal immigrant in the back of a refrigerated lorry made a distressed emergency call.

Staffordshire Police said the call requesting "urgent assistance" was received shortly before 9am today.

Ambulance crews and police then located 12 people travelling inside the lorry, which was heading north on the M6.

A police spokesman said: "As a result of the information received officers from the Central Motorway Police Group co-ordinated a regional response, which included officers from Staffordshire Police, West Midlands Police and Highways Agency colleagues.

"Central Motorway Police Group officers were able to successfully stop the lorry between Hilton Park services and junction 10a.

"In order to do this safely the motorway was closed in both directions for a short period of time."

The spokesman added: "The 12 individuals, located within the vehicle, are now being seen by colleagues from the ambulance service should they require medical attention, and where appropriate will be taken into custody."