THE Chief Constable of Essex Police has issued a statement regarding the discovery of 39 dead bodies in a lorry.

Ben-Julian Harrington, said: "I am immensely proud of the way the county has come together in the wake of such a tragedy.

"As the Chief Constable of Essex Police, I have the utmost confidence in the dedicated women and men of this police force as we lead the murder investigation.

"This is the largest investigation of its kind Essex Police has ever had to conduct and it is likely to take some considerable time to come to a conclusion.

"I am grateful for the support from so many other agencies including the Red Cross and Thurrock Council at the scene providing support to my staff and officers, the NCA and the Home Office as part of the criminal investigation, the Port of Tilbury for accommodating the lorry while we recover the bodies of the victims and the local community for their understanding over the disruption the investigation is causing.

"Above all I want to express my sincere condolences to the families of the 39 people who have sadly lost their lives. We will conduct this investigation with respect for every single one of those people.

"If you have any information which would assist our murder investigation, please call the team on 101.

"If you are worried about a loved one and you reside in the UK please call 0800 056 0944. If you are dialling internationally, please call 0044 207 158 0010.

"I hope the dedication, hard work and collaboration that Essex Police and all our partners have shown so far demonstrates to people everywhere our joint commitment to the task in hand over days, weeks, and months ahead to bring justice for the families of those who have died."