An investigation has been launched into the death of two suspected migrants after their bodies were found at the Ferroli warehouse in Branston, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.
Police were called to the premises on 17 November, following the discovery of two bodies within a wooden transit crate. The area was immediately cordoned off and a forensic examination was carried out.
Both bodies were removed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital for a forensic post mortem examination.
The cause of death is yet to be established and further tests will be conducted. The bodies, yet to be identified, are both believed to be males under the age of 30.
The crate was part of a consignment of commercial boilers from northern Italy, which entered the UK by ferry from Dunkirk to Dover on 8 October.
It was delivered to the warehouse later the same day where it remained untouched until employees became suspicious. Upon opening the crate they discovered the bodies inside and notified police immediately.
Detective chief inspector (DCI) Dave Giles, who is leading the investigation, said it was 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,” said DCI Giles.
"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 the investigation will take some time and require close partnership working with the National Crime Agency, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement.
"This is clearly a tragic incident,” DCI Giles added. “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.”
A spokesperson for Ferroli said: “Ferroli is fully supporting and cooperating with the police to help them with their investigation into this very unfortunate situation.”