Thirty-nine bodies, including one of a teenager, have been found in a lorry container in Essex.
The bodies were found in a lorry on the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, at roughly 1.40am, 23rd October, 2019
It is understood the lorry was originally from Bulgaria and was travelling from Holyhead, Wales, where ferries sail to and from Ireland.
The lorry’s driver, a 24-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Police have not said where the people who died are from or where they were thought to be travelling to. They said it could take a long time to identify those who have died.
Authorities were warned last year that people smugglers saw the Irish border as a weak point in the UK border and were taking migrants to Ireland before transporting them to Britain. It is not known whether that happened in this case.
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, October 19 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.’
The investigation will now try to work out where the people who died came from and what route they had taken to get to the UK.
Seamus Leheny, Northern Ireland policy manager for the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: ‘If the lorry came from Bulgaria, getting into Britain via Holyhead is an unorthodox route.
‘People have been saying that security and checks have been increased at places like Dover and Calais, so it might be seen as an easier way to get in by going from Cherbourg or Roscoff, over to Rosslare, then up the road to Dublin.
‘It’s a long way around and it’ll add an extra day to the journey.’
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Society, added ‘this tragedy highlights the danger of migrant gangs people-smuggling on lorries’.