Essex police were called by the ambulance service shortly before 1:40 a.m. BST (12:40 a.m. GMT) following the horrific discovery at Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue, Grays, the Huffington Post reported citing police.

A preliminary search, suggests 39 bodies have been found in a truck container in Essex, one of the bodies is allegedly a teenager, according to the Huffington Post.

“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", Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said as quoted by the Huffington Post.

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

“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", Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner stated.

Reports say a cordon has been put in place and the Waterglade Industrial Park is closed off.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is "appalled by this tragic incident in Essex".

British Home Secretary Priti Patel has stated that she is "shocked and saddened" at the news about the bodies in the container.

The United Kingdom's rising crime rates, especially knife crime, has been in the public spotlight over the past few months. Lawmakers have blamed the UK prime minister's public funding cuts, which have led to a reduction in police numbers, for the trend. Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May has denied that there is a connection between the cutbacks and increasing knife crime.