Police in Essex confiscated a trailer that arrived via ferry from Belgium. The ship docked soon after midnight and the lorry left the port with the container within half an hour. It was a refrigerated unit and police found it an Industrial Park in Grays. There were 38 bodies of adults (men and women) and one teenager in the container. Police arrested the driver who is from Northern Ireland and charged him with murder. They also shifted the vehicle to a safe place to take care of the bodies. An official of the police said that identifying the victims would be a lengthy process and assured that it will be a priority.

The National Crime Agency has also jumped into action. It will make efforts to identify if there is involvement of any organized crime groups.

The BBC says the trailer appeared to be a refrigerated unit, where temperatures could be as low as minus 25C. It would be "absolutely horrendous" for any human being who might be inside. Officials from Bulgaria confirmed the registration of the truck was in Varna (on the east coast) and the owner of the company was an Irish citizen. Obviously, the authorities will have to focus on all angles to solve the mystery.

The incident has come as a shock

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was shocked as was Home Secretary Priti Patel and other leaders.

The prime minister said it was an "unimaginable tragedy and truly heartbreaking." He has also confirmed that he is receiving regular updates from the relevant authorities. The Essex Police are trying to establish the sequence of events. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said there will be investigations to find out if the lorry passed through Ireland.

BBC says Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price described it as “sickening news” and added that putting 39 people into a locked refrigerated metal container is evil.

It shows the contempt for human life by those who committed the crime. It has shocked the world and the police will have to establish the identities of the deceased and trace those who committed the heinous crime.

Human trafficking is a growing evil

According to Telegraph UK, the discovery of 39 bodies in a refrigerated lorry in Essex indicates probable links to human trafficking groups and police are investigating a suspected Irish people-smuggling ring. Temperatures in such a vehicle could get as low as -25C and these people might have died from hypothermia. The victims are yet to be identified, especially their nationality and place of origin. Detectives are examining the possible routes traffickers might have used in their nefarious activities.

The NCA had cautioned about an increase in the number of migrants using “higher risk methods of clandestine entry” to the UK. Some of these are refrigerated HGVs and containers, as well as small boats. Incidentally, this is not the first such incident of finding bodies in a container. In 2000, the bodies of 58 Chinese people were found in a container at Dover, Kent.