STAFF turned up at Waterglade Industrial Park yesterday morning expecting to get on with their jobs.

Instead, many were turned away by police cordons and thick sheets blocking the entrance to their road, protecting the scene where 39 bodies were found locked in a lorry.

The murder probe, first launched at 1.40am in the morning, saw a consistently increasing police presence throughout the morning and afternoon yesterday.

By 11am, a huge crowd of media from around the world – including journalists from the USA and Japan – had descended on the small road.

Police ramped up their protection of the site, with up to ten officers guarding the two entrances, and the lorry itself where forensic teams carried out work throughout the day.

Salman Rabesh, who works on the estate, said: “Police just directed us away, I was not able to get into work all morning.

“The officers said ‘serious incident’ but then I saw the news.

“I don’t know what to think, it’s horrible. Awful. I don’t understand.”

Damian Jones arrived for work to see the cordon. He said: “The estate hasn’t been this busy in years. All for such an awful crime.

“I have never seen or heard of anything like it.”

Colleague Paul Wellington added: “To think the lorry may have been sitting there with all those bodies inside and many of us could have just driven by it without even knowing.

“It’s actually sickening. Why would anyone think people would deserve that is beyond me. Barbaric.”

The red and white lorry in question was still being examined through the afternoon, and remained completely cordoned off.

The words “the ultimate dream” could be seen printed on its windscreen.

A worker at the Big Blue Food Bus, which operates on Eastern Avenue, said: “What’s happened was utterly horrendous.

Glen Freeland, from GSF Car Parts which is close to where the bodies were found, said staff could not access the shop on Eastern Avenue on Wednesday morning.

He said: “The manager went to get into work this morning and it was cordoned off and we’ve been moved to a different area.

“All we know is they found the bodies in the back of a lorry.

“It was a bit of a shock but we’re not 100 per cent sure of what’s happened.”

Later in the day the lorry was driven, under police escort, back to Tilbury Docks, where the bodies would be recovered and forensics investigations would continue.