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23 October 2019 16:39

A2 Kent 39 bodies

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GRAYS, England (Reuters) - British police found the bodies of 39 people inside a truck believed to have come from Bulgaria at an industrial estate near London on Wednesday, and said they had arrested the driver on suspicion of murder. Police is seen at the scene where bodies were discovered in a lorry container, in Grays, Essex, Britain October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls The discovery of the bodies - 38 adults and one teenager - was made in the early hours after emergency services were alerted to people in a truck container on a gritty industrial site in Grays, about 20 miles (32 km) east of central London. The truck was thought to have entered Britain at Holyhead, a North Wales port that is a major entry point for traffic from Ireland, on Saturday and to have originally started its journey in Bulgaria, police said. The driver of the truck, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, was in custody.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled by the news and was receiving regular updates about the investigation. "We know that this trade is going on - all such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice," he said. All those in the container were pronounced dead at the scene after the emergency services were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park, not far from docks on the River Thames. Bulgaria's foreign ministry said had been in contact with the British authorities over the incident. "At present, it has not yet been confirmed whether the truck has a Bulgarian registration," a foreign ministry spokeswoman said. "There is also no indication of the nationality of the human bodies found in the truck. British police have warned that the identification of the bodies will take a long time." "DESPERATE AND DANGEROUS SITUATION" Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Irish authorities would carry out any investigations necessary if it was established that the truck had passed through Ireland. Police officers in forensic suits were inspecting a large white container on a red truck next to warehouses at the site. Police had sealed off the surrounding area of the estate with large green barriers as they carried out their investigation. "At this stage, we have not identified where the victims are from or their identities and we anticipate this could be a lengthy process," Essex Police Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills told reporters. "This is an absolute tragedy." Mills said finding out who the victims were was their top priority, while a key line of inquiry was determining the truck's route from Bulgaria to Ireland and then onto Britain. Nearby businesses said they had been unable to gain access to their units on the site due to the large police cordon. "The police came in the night - they have closed the whole area," said a worker at a nearby cafe, who declined to give his name. For years, illegal immigrants have attempted to reach Britain stowed away in the back of trucks, often seeking to reach the United Kingdom from the European mainland. Slideshow (18 Images) In Britain's biggest illegal immigrant tragedy in 2000, customs officials found the bodies of 58 Chinese people crammed into a tomato truck at the southern port of Dover. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said the latest deaths were an unbelievable human tragedy that needed answers. "Can we just think for a moment of what it must have been like for those 39 people, obviously in a desperate and dangerous situation, for their lives to end, suffocated to death in a container," he said. A lorry in which the bodies of 39 people were found on an Essex industrial estate was registered in Bulgaria by a company owned by an Irish woman, Bulgaria's foreign ministry has revealed. Police who launched a murder investigation say they have arrested the lorry driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, on suspicion of murder. Bulgarian officials said: "The Scania truck was registered in Varna (on the east coast of Bulgaria) under the name of a company owned by an Irish citizen." We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras. "The bodies of 38 adults and a teenager have not yet been identified, but police said that it is highly unlikely that they are Bulgarians." Essex Police revised their information to say they believed the lorry travelled from Zeebrugge in Belgium into Purfleet, Essex, and docked in the Thurrock area. They said the tractor unit of the lorry was believed to have originated in Northern Ireland. Originally, they had reported the lorry had travelled into the country through Holyhead on Saturday but later corrected this. One teenager was found dead alongside 38 adults at the Waterglade Industrial Park, in Grays, in the early hours of Wednesday. Aerial footage from the scene showed forensic officers getting in and out of the parked lorry. Two tents were erected – one in front of the lorry and one behind it with police vehicles on either side. Police, who taped off the area, said they would shortly be moving the trailer and lorry to a secure location. Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: "We have been progressing our investigations at the scene here in Grays throughout the day. "In order to ensure we maintain the dignity of the people who sadly lost their lives, we will be moving the lorry and the trailer shortly. Priti Patel, the home secretary, has signalled she is willing to consider tougher sentences for human traffickers. More follows…