A lorry carrying nine migrants has been stopped in Kent – hours after the bodies of 39 people were found in the back of a refrigerated truck in Essex.
The nine migrants were found alive after police were called at 3.40pm to reports of people in the back of a lorry on the M20.
Officers stopped the lorry on the London-bound carriageway between junctions nine and eight, just after Ashford, halting traffic.
A Kent Police spokesman told Sky News: “Nine people are now being checked as a precaution by the South East Coast Ambulance Service before they are passed to Home Office immigration officers.”
The M20 runs from Folkestone where the Channel Tunnel is, and also links the A20 to Dover where ferries come from Calais.
In the early hours of Wednesday, a lorry trailer containing the bodies of 39 people was found on an industrial estate in the neighbouring county of Essex.
Police were called at 1.40am to Grays by paramedics who had been called to the refrigerated container shortly before.
The driver, understood to be 25-year-old Mo Robinson, from Portadown, Northern Ireland, was arrested soon after on suspicion of murder.
The cab and refrigerated container have now been moved with a police escort to a secure location at Tilbury Docks in Essex, so the bodies “can be recovered while preserving the dignity of the victims”, officers said.
The bodies are still inside the trailer and officers have not yet established the identities of the dead.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said: “This tragedy highlights the danger of migrant gangs people-smuggling on lorries.”
He said temperatures in refrigerated units can be as low as minus 25C and described conditions for anyone inside as “absolutely horrendous”.
Boris Johnson called the incident an “unimaginable tragedy” and said those involved in people-trafficking should be “hunted down and brought to justice”.