Man admits immigration offence linked to the deaths of 39 people in a container in Essex

The container in Grays in Essex last year Credit: ITV Anglia

A Romanian man has admitted an immigration offence linked to an alleged people-smuggling operation which resulted in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Essex last year.

Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga, 28, of Hobart Road in Essex, admitted one count of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration between May 2018 and October 2019 when he appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday afternoon.

He will be sentenced at a later date, following the trial of other defendants accused over the deaths.

The bodies of the Vietnamese nationals were discovered in a refrigerated container by emergency services at an industrial estate in Grays shortly after the lorry arrived on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium in the early hours of October 23 2019.