39 bodies have been found in a container in Thurrock in Essex, police said.

Essex Police said it was called by the ambulance service shortly before 1.40am on Wednesday following the discovery of a lorry container with people inside at Waterglade Industrial Park, Eastern Avenue, Grays.

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.

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.

HeraldScotland:

“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 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.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is “appalled” and that his thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their loved ones after 39 bodies were found in a container in Thurrock, Essex.

It is thought the lorry will have entered Holyhead via Dublin.

Seamus Leheny, Northern Ireland policy manager for the Freight Transport Association (FTA), told PA: “There is a direct route to Holyhead from Dublin.

“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.

“It’s a long way around and it’ll add an extra day to the journey.”

Aerial footage from the scene shows forensic officers walking in and out of the lorry which is parked on Eastern Avenue opposite Pirtek and Hydraquip.

Two tents have been erected – one in front of the lorry and one behind it with police vehicles on either side.

Police have taped off the area as they investigate.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon expressed “acute sadness”, adding that “loss of life on this scale is tragic and horrific in every circumstance”.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford expressed “utter horror” at what has happened.