Bodies of two suspected migrants found in crate
The bodies of two suspected migrants have been found in a wooden crate.
Workers at a warehouse called Staffordshire Police after noticing an unpleasant smell coming from the crate. The bodies of two men, believed to be aged under 30, were found at Ferroli in Lichfield Road, Branston, on Tuesday just before 9.05am.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Giles said the deaths were being treated as "suspicious" and that it was "apparent both men had been dead for some time."
Forensic examinations have been carried out at the scene but the cause of death for both men, whose post-mortem examinations were carried out at the Royal Stoke Hospital, is still unknown.
Further tests will be carried out and detectives are working to confirm the identity of both men.
Their bodies were found in a wooden transit crate which was part of a consignment of commercial boilers which left northern Italy on October 5.
The crate entered the UK by ferry from Dunkirk to Dover on October 8. It was delivered to the warehouse in Branston, Burton-upon-Trent, later the same day where it remained untouched until employees became suspicious due to its unpleasant smell and appearance. Upon investigation they discovered the bodies inside the crate and notified police immediately.
Mr Giles said "It is apparent both men had been dead for some time. Based on the information available this time, the men are likely to be migrants who had secreted themselves in a wooden transit crate to enable their entry into the UK. We are almost certain they were helped to conceal themselves amongst the delivery load by a third party.
"In view of this we are treating the deaths as suspicious and will be carrying out a thorough investigation into the circumstances. Our priorities are to identify the bodies and repatriate them to their bereaved families and also to identify anyone who is involved in facilitating the illegal movement of people into the UK.
"It is likely this investigation will take some time and will require close partnership working with colleagues from the National Crime Agency, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement.
"This is clearly a tragic incident. Our thoughts are with the men, who must have been extremely uncomfortable in their final moments, and their as yet untraced families and friends, who will undoubtedly be very concerned having not heard from their loved ones for considerable time.
"We are treating the men with the utmost respect and dignity, and will continue to do so."