TWO men from East Lancashire have been charged with modern slavery offences after nearly 30 Vietnamese were allegedly herded into a van from a boat in Cornwall.

Police were first alerted early on Friday morning to reports that a group of people were seen being taken from a boat in Newlyn's harbour to a waiting van.

Later the suspect vehicle was pulled over by Devon and Cornwall officers on the M5 near junction 28, at Cullompton.

Twenty-nine men, women and children were said to have been discovered in the back of the van.

Four men were arrested initially in relaton to the find - though one remained under police guard in hospital for a time.

Investigations have now revealed that two East Lancashire men are suspected to have been involved in their arrival in the UK.

Frank Walling, 72, from Colne, and Glen Martin Bennett, 55, from Burnley, have been charged with human trafficking and assisting unlawful immigration offences and remanded into police custody.

The pair are set to appear before magistrates in Truro on Monday, alongside Jon Ransom, 63, from Kent, and Keith Royston Plummer, 62, from Sheerness, who have each been charged with the same offences.

Mr Walling is understood to be a builder and father-of-five, who is originally from the Barnoldswick area and a life-long sailor.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman the 29 found in the van were all thought to be Vietnamese nationals.

He added: "Police and partners continue to take care of those located in the van."

The UK Border Agency and National Crime Agency have been informed regarding the matter.