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Lorry alarm nobbles immigrants

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Illegal immigrants' days may be numbered thanks to a new 'trailer alarm' that tells HGV drivers if someone has sneaked into their cab. The device, under development by Pulse Design, consists of a thin-strip detector running all the way around the inside of a lorry's tarpaulin and an alarm unit in the driver's cab, connected by radio waves. If the detector is bent by more than six inches, it will send a signal to the alarm unit, alerting the driver when he returns. Of course, following the recent soul-searching/witch-hunting over UK immigrants, Pulse's timing looks extremely suspect. But talking to the alarm's inventor, Andrew Goodwill, The Register found itself in the unusual position in falling for a product manager's sales pitch. A high percentage of illegal immigrants enter the UK by stowing away in lorries. If caught, the lorry driver/firm faces a fine of between £1000 and £2000. Despite current precautions, between 20 and 30 stowaways are being found each week, according to Goodwill. With 100-plus lorries arriving every day, there is clearly a large market. Most firms have fitted padlocked cables on the inside of their lorries but stowaways are cutting them with bolt-cutters and then holding the ends together with insulation tape, Goodwill said. The alarm, expected to come in at £150, will send a signal to the main unit if it is cut. The device is activated only when the engine is switched off - cutting out the risk that wind will trigger the alarm. Since the detector is at the bottom of the tarpaulin, it is also unlikely to be affected by wind when the lorry is stationary. Most movement occurs in the middle of the tarpaulin, Goodwill explained. The device is soon to go into testing and should be available in two months. If successful, the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph are expected to hurriedly find another scapegoat for society's ills. ®

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