British police find 39 bodies in truck believed to be from Bulgaria
GRAYS, ENGLAND: British police found the bodies of 39 people inside a truck believed to have come from Bulgaria at an industrial estate to the east of London yesterday and have arrested the driver on suspicion of murder.
The discovery was made in the early hours after emergency services were alerted to people in the truck container at a gritty industrial site in Grays, 32km from 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 truck driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, was in custody.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled.
"I am receiving regular updates and the Home Office will work closely with Essex police as we establish exactly what has happened," Mr Johnson tweeted.
"My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives and their loved ones."
All those in the container, 38 adults and one teenager, were pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park.
Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said it could not confirm at this stage if the truck had started its journey from the country.
Police officers in forensic suits were yesterday inspecting a large white container on a red truck next to warehouses at the site.
They had sealed off the surrounding area of the industrial 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's Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills told reporters.
"This is an absolute tragedy."
She 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. - REUTERS