- Police discovered the youngster in the BMW X5 at the Melilla border on Friday
- Officers searched the car after detecting the boy’s heartbeat with a machine
- Driver, 65, was arrested at the scene and is expected to be remanded in custody
A Moroccan pensioner has been arrested after he was caught trying to smuggle a 12-year-old African boy into Spain curled up inside the dashboard of his car.
Police discovered the youngster on Friday after detecting his heartbeat using a special machine at a checkpoint on the border between Morocco and Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla.
An officer confirmed the schoolboy – believed to be from Guinea – had been stuffed into the tiny space between the engine and the passenger seat of the BMW X5 after reaching into the dashboard with his hand.
The African youngster in the dashboard of the BMW X5. The Morroccan driver has been arrested
The car was ripped apart and the child, said to have been disorientated and suffering breathing difficulties and numbness in his limbs because of the position he had been forced to adopt, was given medical assistance at the scene.
The 65-year-old driver of the Moroccan-plated vehicle was arrested and is expected to be remanded in custody after appearing before an investigating judge in the next 24 hours.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard, the force which discovered the youngster, said: ‘The operation began when officers stopped a BMW X5 with a Moroccan numberplate so they could inspect the driver’s vehicle and personal ID documents.
‘He was then asked to open his boot but nothing untoward was found.
‘A tiny detail aroused the suspicion of officers when a heart beat sensor was passed over the car, a high-end vehicle in very good condition.
The child was said to have been disorientated and suffering breathing difficulties and numbness in his limbs because of the position he had been forced to adopt
The checkpoint in Melilla where officers discovered the 12-year-boy on Friday
‘The boy was found during an exhaustive search inside the dashboard. An officer felt the body of a person after introducing his hand and immediately ripped off part of it to remove and assist the human being who turned out to be a young boy.’
The latest find evokes memories of an incident two years ago in which a Moroccan teenager was stopped by police trying to reach Spanish soil by crossing into Ceuta with an eight-year-old boy inside a suitcase.
An hour and a half later his dad was arrested trying to cross at the same spot.