Murder probe launched after 39 bodies discovered in lorry in Essex

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A murder investigation has been launched after 39 bodies were discovered in a lorry container on an industrial estate.

The victims, found at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, included one teenager, Essex Police said.

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The force has said that it was called by the ambulance service shortly before 1.40am on Wednesday following the discovery of a lorry container with people inside. 

Some 39 people were pronounced dead at the scene. Early indications suggest 38 are adults and one aged in their teens, police said.

A 25-year-old-man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

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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.

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‘We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries 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.’