A British family returned from their holiday abroad without realising a man had stowed away inside their roof box.
It wasn’t until they parked up at the South Mimms Services, off the M25, that concerned onlookers heard the man ‘banging and shouting’ from the top of the vehicle.
Emergency services were then called to the scene and firefighters opened the storage box with a crowbar.
The man told his rescuers he had been trapped in the box ‘for days’. Hertfordshire Police believe he climbed inside while the family stayed overnight in Calais.
One onlooker said: ‘Everyone could hear this knocking and screaming coming from an unmanned vehicle in the car park.
‘A bunch of people attempted to open the luggage roof rack but failed. ‘People were shouting “it’s okay we’ll get you out” and then the police were called but they failed to open the roof compartment as well and called the fire service.
‘A man was freed, covering his eyes because of the bright daylight, and he was overheard saying he had been in there for days.
‘The family returned to their car – a man with his wife and two children – and were totally oblivious as to what was happening.
‘The couple were in total disbelief when they were told a man had been hiding in their roof luggage compartment. We left just as the police were questioning the couple.’
Officers arrested the man on suspicion of entering the UK illegally. The case has since been passed on to the UK Border Force.