LONDON: A truck driver has been arrested on suspicion of murder after 39 dead bodies were found inside a lorry container believed to have recently arrived in the UK from Bulgaria.
Police and emergency services rushed to an industrial park in Essex, east of London early on Wednesday morning but pronounced the victims dead at the scene, police said, including 38 adults and one teenager.
The driver of the truck, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder, police said.
Shocked & saddened by this utterly tragic incident in Grays. Essex Police has arrested an individual and we must give them the space to conduct their investigations.
— Priti Patel MP (@patel4witham) October 23, 2019
“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives,” Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said. “Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened.
We are in the process of identifying the victims, however I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process.
“We believe the lorry is from Bulgaria and entered the country at Holyhead on Saturday, 19 October, and we are working closely with our partners to investigate.”
Holyhead is a port 400 kilometres away in north-west Wales, the closest British port to Dublin in Ireland.
“We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue,” Superintendent Mariner said.