Driver arrested following discovery of 39 bodies ‘of Chinese nationals’ in lorry container

Police investigations are continuing after the discovery of 39 bodies ‘of Chinese nationals’ in a refrigerated truck in Essex.

The owner of the lorry has been identified as 25 year old Mo Robinson from Northern Ireland, and following his arrest on Wednesday, officers have raided three houses in Country Armagh, while the National Crime Agency are attempting to identify any links to organised crime that deals in human smuggling and trafficking.

Mo Robinson, Facebook

While the lorry was initially thought to have arrived in the UK from Bulgaria due to the truck being registered there, police in Essex now believe it arrived from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Agencies in Belgium are investigating the tragic deaths.  Eric Van Duyse, a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, has said that it is unknown how long the lorry remained in Belgium for and that it could be “hours or days, we just don’t know”.

One victim found in the lorry has been confirmed to be a teenager, and with the nationalities of those who died still unknown, police have confirmed that it may be a “lengthy process” to identify who they were and where they started their journey to the UK.

In an unrelated incident, police in Kent on Wednesday detained a group of nine other undocumented migrants found alive in the back of a lorry on the M20.

Conditions in refrigerated trailers such as this used for transporting food can reach temperatures down to -25C, with conditions like this easily posing fatal over long journeys, even with the appropriate clothing.  Incidents like this highlight the increasing desperation of those seeking new horizons in the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed his condolences, saying “this is an unimaginable tragedy and truly heartbreaking”, then saying “The Home Office will be working closely with police to establish what happened”.

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