ILLEGAL immigrants travelled hundreds of miles hiding under a van ... only to emerge on a Laindon driveway and wait calmly for police.

May and Dean Darke had been visiting family in France but were joined for a large amount of the journey home by two illegal immigrants.

It is believed the two immigrants travelled 326 miles from the French port of Caen to Portsmouth, and then to Laindon, somehow hiding under the van.

When the couple arrived home, in Basildon Drive, the two immigrants emerged from underneath the van and waited for police to arrive before being arrested.

Mrs Darke said: “We went to France to help my sister who is moving back to Essex, we got the van and drove there and back. It was checked in France and here too, I’m unsure where the two men got into the van.

“When we got home we heard a noise and the men came from under the van. We were shocked and quite frightened, but they were very placid and I told them I was calling the police and they sat down and waited for the police.

“It was quite scary as we didn’t know what was going to happen and whether they were going to attack us.

“I felt some sympathy for them as they must have been hanging on under the van from Portsmouth and they must have been quite desperate to make a journey like that.

“I felt angry that I’d been dragging into them doing something illegal and also felt violated that they were found on my drive outside my home where I should feel safe.”

Mrs Darke blasted port authorities in both Britain and France for failing to spot the two illegal stowaways, despite various checks on the vehicle.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were called to reports of two people found in a van in Basildon Drive, Basildon at around 9.20am on 29 July.

“Officers attended and two people were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.”

A Home Office spokesman said: "Immigration Enforcement was contacted by Essex Police at 1pm on Wednesday 29 July after they attended an incident.

"Police officers encountered two males who presented themselves as Sudanese nationals. They were transferred to social services."