Eight illegal immigrants have been found hidden in the engine room of a Dutch general cargoship in France.

The Albanians, aged between 21 and 29, were escorted off the 3,700-dwt Eems Dart (built 2002) by four policemen accompanied by two armed marksmen.

The vessel, operated by Amasus Shipping, was en route to Ireland.

France Blue reported that crew discovered the group when it was in the Channel.

The vessel diverted to Cherbourg. It had left Rouen on Friday.