TWO men from East Lancashire have confessed to trafficking dozens of Vietnamese people into the UK on a yacht.

Frank Walling, 72, and Glen Martin Bennett, 55, were detained by police on the M5 last month after 29 Vietnamese nationals were spotted being moved from a boat in Cornwall to a waiting van.

Men, women and children were said to have originally stowed away in the yacht, which landed in Newlyn harbour just after 7am on Friday, April 12, before they were transferred.

Detectives later pulled over the vehicle 127 miles away on the motorway close to junction 28, at Cullompton.

The UK Border Force and National Crime Agency were drafted in as part of the operation by the Devon and Cornwall force.

Nearby motorway services was commandeered by investigators as the suspects and stowaways were questioned.

The Vietnamese nationals were later transferred to the care of the immigration authorities, it was confirmed.

Walling, from Colne, and Bennett, who lives in Burnley, were each charged later with doing an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of immigration law.

Guilty pleas were entered by the two men during a brief plea and trial preparation hearing at Truro Crown Court before Judge Robert Linford.

Two other men, accused of similar offences, Jon Ransom, 63, from Kent, and Keith Royston Plummer, 62, from Sheerness, entered not guilty pleas and will stand trial at the same court on October 9.

Walling and Bennett were remanded in custody by Judge Linford and are expected to be sentenced at the conclusion of the trial on October 11.

Walling, who was originally treated in hospital after his initial arrest, is understood to be a builder and father-of-five, who is originally from the Barnoldswick area and a life-long sailor.