Bodies of 39 people found in back of lorry on Essex industrial estate UK

Bodies of 39 people found in back of lorry on Essex industrial estate UK

  • Police found 39 people dead inside a container in Essex after they were called by paramedics this morning
  • The Bulgarian lorry entered Britain at Welsh port of Holyhead, suggesting it had come through Ireland
  • The lorry’s driver, a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder
  • Truck and its refrigerated trailer arrived on Saturday, meaning victims may have been inside for four days
  • CCTV from the estate shows the lorry passing through the estate just half an hour before bodies were found 

Detectives are investigating whether organised crime gangs could be behind the deaths of 39 people inside a refrigerated trailer, in what is feared to be one of Britain’s worst people-smuggling tragedies.

Police have begun trying to identify the 38 adults and a teenager whose bodies were discovered when the lorry stopped at an Essex industrial estate.

Officers want to work out the movements of the vehicle, which is thought to have arrived in the UK from Zeebrugge, in Belgium, in the early hours.

Detectives are questioning the driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, on suspicion of murder.

They have refused to confirm his identity but reports have identified him as Mo Robinson, from Portadown in Co Armagh.

There has been speculation that the suspect may have alerted the authorities himself.

Officials from the National Crime Agency said its specialists were working to “urgently identify and take action against any organised crime groups who have played a role in causing these deaths”.

Experts said temperatures in refrigerated units can be as low as minus 25C. 

Just hours after the bodies were discovered, police in Kent found nine people alive in the back of a lorry on the M20.

Essex Police were called to the Waterglade industrial park in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of Wednesday, and taped off the area to investigate. Ambulance staff confirmed all 39 victims were dead.

Boris Johnson said on Twitter he was appalled by the incident and that the Home Office would work with police to find out what had happened.

He said he was receiving regular updates about the investigation which was focused on human trafficking.

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Richard Haruna

Richard Haruna

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