Twelve people have been found in the back of a lorry on the M25 after police received phone calls saying occupants were on board and struggling to breathe.

Emergency services were called to the motorway near Chertsey after receiving reports of a concern for safety just after 11am on Thursday.

Surrey Police told the PA news agency: “Officers were given a very limited description of a lorry, and were told that people on board were struggling to breathe. This resulted in police needing to stop a number of lorries quickly to try and identify the one involved.

Lorry stopped on M25
Eleven men and one woman were found in the lorry (Marc Ward/PA)

“The correct lorry was stopped between J10 and 11 on the anti-clockwise carriageway around 11.30am.

“Eleven men and one woman, believed to be clandestine migrants, were found in the back of the lorry.

“They have been checked by paramedics at the roadside and taken into police custody. Immigration services will be dealing with the matter.

“Two lanes of the motorway were closed whilst officers attended the incident, but have since been reopened.”

The force’s roads policing unit confirmed junctions 10 and 11 of the M25 reopened at 1.45pm and the lanes were still very busy.

No arrests have been made.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.