WOULD-BE illegal immigrants have been discovered hiding in a van of Spanish oranges bound for a West Drayton-based fruit importer.
The lorry was stopped from reaching the UK by British officers working for the UK Border Agency in Calais, France.
A total of 21 stowaways from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia were found thanks to a range of security checks including sniffer dogs and heartbeat detectors.
The driver of the lorry faces a fine if it can be proved he didn't secure his vehicle properly and the foreign nationals have been handed over to the French authorities.
UK Border Agency Director Tom Dowdall, who heads operations in Northern France, said: "We have hundreds of UK Border Agency officers based at ports in France and Belgium, working to stop illegal immigrants before they get to the UK.
"Our highly successful controls have strengthened our borders and continue to prevent illegal migrants from entering the UK, stopping over 28,000 attempts to enter the UK in 2008."
Civil penalties for businesses who fail to carry out the proper checks when employing migrants from outside Europe were introduced by the Government last year, allowing employers to be fined up to £10,000 per illegal employee.