Thirty-nine people, including a teenager, have been found dead inside a lorry container at an industrial park in Essex.
Police and ambulance crews were called following the discovery at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays at 1.40am.Sponsored link
All 39 people were pronounced dead at the scene and the lorry driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The vehicle is believed to have come from Bulgaria and entered the UK at Holyhead in north Wales on Saturday.
Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said: “This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. 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. We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue.
Police have put a cordon in place and access to and from the industrial park is closed.
Mr Mariner added: “I appreciate this cordon is going to disrupt the activity of local businesses in the area and we will work to ensure that disruption is kept as short as possible. We are working with Thurrock Council to mitigate against any impact our investigation scene will have locally.”
The industrial park, which is made up of courier and logistics companies, is a short drive from the Dartford Crossing, linking Essex with Kent.
Paige Wade was driving past on the way home from work at around 4.15am and saw police tape cordoning off an entrance to the site in Eastern Avenue.
She said: “I knew it was serious because of how many police cars and ambulances were there, but the police had parked their cars across the whole access of the road so you couldn’t see anything.
“There’s always lorries around there as they park up there for the night.”
Glen Freeland said staff at his nearby GSF Car Parts shop were unable to get into work on Wednesday morning because of the police cordon.
He added: “All we know is they found the bodies in the back of a lorry.
“It was a bit of a shock but we’re not 100% sure of what’s happened.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex. I am receiving regular updates from the Home Office & will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened.
“My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones.”
I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex. I am receiving regular updates and the Home Office will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened. My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones.66312:25 PM – Oct 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy240 people are talking about this
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “shocked and saddened” by the news.
Ms Patel is MP for Witham, which is in Essex.
She tweeted: “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.”
In a further statement, the home secretary said police were working with Home Office immigration officials “to establish how this horrific event came to happen”.
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.21012:04 PM – Oct 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy93 people are talking about this
Essex Police Detective Chief Constable Pippa Mills is due to make a statement at Grays Police Station at 11.30am.