Police are seen at the site was the lorry containing the bodies were found in Grays, Essex, London on October 24, 2019. Reuters

Police found 39 bodies inside a refrigerated truck in Essex, London who are reported to be Chinese nationals. It was the second largest mass killing in the country since 2000 and a BBC report said the police arrested a 25-year-old lorry driver on Wednesday, Oct. 23 and conducted two search operations as part of the ongoing investigation.

Considered to be one of the worst tragedies in the past 20 years, the driver of the truck, Mo Robinson from Portadown was arrested for suspicion of the murders, reported the Guardian. While the identities of the victims have not been identified, bodies of 38 adults and one teenager were found near an industrial park in Essex on Wednesday. The police said the lorry arrived via ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet in Essex.

An investigation by the National Crime Agency revealed that the murders are likely linked to criminal groups who smuggle migrants to the country. Describing the case, Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association was quoted as saying by the BBC that the refrigerated unit's temperature could get as low as -25C and described conditions for anyone inside as "absolutely horrendous".

According to police reports, the truck was registered in Varna, Bulgaria and officials from the country confirmed the findings stating that the truck was registered under a company owned by an Irish citizen. Bulgaria's foreign ministry said it was "highly unlikely" the victims were Bulgarians.

Police had initially stated that the lorry had entered the UK from north of Wales. Officials later added that the trailer containing the bodies travelled from Zeebrugge to Purfleet in Essex and reached the Thurrock area.

Essex people smuggling

Police state that the cab area-the driver section travelled separately from Northern Ireland and Robinson took over the driving the lorry minutes before an ambulance service alerted authorities about the bodies.Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the mass killing and stated that he was "appalled by this tragic incident".

The incident is the second largest mass killing in the country since 2000 when bodies of 58 Chinese people were found in a container in Dover, Kent. The case was the biggest such incident that involved illegal immigrants entering the UK. The driver of the truck, Perry Wacker was found guilty of the killings and people smuggling operation that was revealed to be planned by the Chinese snakehead gang.