The RHA has accused Border Force of ignoring the industry’s longstanding concerns about stowaways attempting to enter the UK and the lack of support for HGV drivers.

Richard Burnett, chief executive for the RHA told BBC Radio 5 Live that Border Force was not on top of the situation: “My sense is that for a long time we have not been listened to," he said.

“We have not been taken seriously as an industry. For years we have been shouting from the rooftops that these things have been happening week in and week out.

“Despite this I think that the drivers who are making these journeys feel that they are not being heard; that they’re not being listened to or supported.

“We have tried hard with the Home Office and with Border Force to make sure that the drivers making the journey from the European mainland to the UK have a voice.”

Stowaways still arriving at UK ports in force

His comments came as Essex police continued to question a lorry driver on suspicion of murdering eight women and 31 men after they were found dead in a refrigerated trailer in Grays.

All were Chinese nationals.

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Burnett said: “I am of the firm opinion that there is insufficient focus and support and that this issue isn’t being tackled.

“If you think about Brexit now, how on earth with everything that we are facing can we get the support of the European countries to make sure that we have the proper measures in place to tackle this issue and to prevent it from happening again?

“Yesterday’s tragedy has highlighted the fact that we’re not just talking about the risk to goods crossing the Channel post Brexit – lives are being risked – and lost.”