THE truck driver arrested after 39 people died in a lorry’s refrigerated trailer is Northern Ireland man Mo Robinson.
The 25-year-old is at the centre of one of Britain’s biggest ever murder investigations after an ambulance crew discovered the bodies in the trailer of a lorry he was driving in Essex last night.
Robinson, who is from a small village near Portadown, regularly posts about the Bulgarian-registered Scania truck on his Instagram and Facebook pages, referring to it as ‘the Scandinavian Express’ and ‘the Polar Express’.
Reports say he may have driven to the UK over the weekend just in the lorry’s cab.
Police believe he may then have picked up the container at the Essex port of Purfleet.
It is understood Robinson does not own the lorry.
It was reportedly registered in Bulgaria by an Irish company in 2017 then driven out of the eastern-European country to Northern Ireland.
A local haulage boss told website MailOnline: ‘I’ve been told that Mo Robinson was the one who was driving the truck, but he doesn’t own it. It’s owned by a local lorry business.’
Social media posts suggest Robinson makes frequent trips to Denmark and Sweden, which would require driving through Britain.
Footage recorded by a business on the Waterglade Industrial Park, Thurrock shows the left-hand drive truck passing through the estate just half an hour before an ambulance crew discovered the bodies of 38 adults and a teenager in the back.
The deaths will lead to renewed calls for added checks on vehicles entering Britain through so-called ‘soft spot’ ports, with Border Force resources currently focused on Dover.
The fact that the lorry arrived at Holyhead on Saturday suggests those who died may have been in the back of the vehicle for at least four days.
A member of the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said the lorry could have got a ferry from France to Ireland, then driven through Ireland before boarding another boat to Britain.
Seamus Leheny said: ‘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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is ‘appalled’ by the tragedy and that his thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their loved ones.
He tweeted: ‘I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex.
“I am receiving regular updates and the Home Office will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened.
“My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones.”