A driver of a truck containing 39 deceased individuals has been arrested. At the moment, Essex police know very little about the incident. Currently, the 25 year old driver is their only suspect, but authorities think that the deaths might be related to organized immigration crime. The police were summoned early Wednesday morning by the ambulance service not long after the collection of bodies was found.
The deceased were discovered in the container of the truck at the Waterglade industrial park in Grays – the largest town in the borough of Thurrock. One of the 39 unidentified victims is a teenager. The lorry – thought to come from Bulgaria – apparently made it into the country through the Welsh port town of Holyhead.
According to the Home Secretary, people from Home Office immigration are collaborating the police force to determine the details of the situation.
“I’m shocked and saddened by this utterly tragic incident in Grays. My heart goes out to all those affected. Essex police has arrested an individual and we must give them the space to conduct their investigations. Home Office immigration officials will be working closely alongside them to establish how this horrific event came to happen,” said Home Secretary, Priti Patel.
Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner says, “This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our inquiries 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 inquiries continue. 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.”
Two ends of Eastern Avenue were closed off by the police and a seven foot high barricade was set up to obscure the view of the lorry from the media.
Northern Ireland policy manager at the Freight Transport Association, Seamus Leheny, 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.”