Detectives investigating the 39 lorry trailer deaths in Grays have spoken by phone to one of two brothers sought by Essex Police - but have urged the men to hand themselves in.

Police earlier this week appealed to find Ronan and Christopher Hughes for questioning over the deaths of the 39 people found in the back of a lorry from Belgium in the Waterglade Industrial Park on Wednesday, October 23.

The lorry driver, Maurice Robinson, of Laurel Drive, Craigavon, Northern Ireland, appeared in court on Monday charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people and other charges.

Essex Police Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten told reporters at a press conference in Northern Ireland: "Today I want to make a direct appeal - Ronan and Christopher, hand yourselves in to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

"We need you both to come forward and assist this investigation. Although we have already spoken to Ronan Hughes recently by telephone we need to have a conversation with him and his brother in person.

"Talking to Ronan and Christopher is crucial to our investigation and the sooner we can make this happen the sooner we can progress and continue with our investigation."

Mr Stoten said officers had seized a lorry connected to the Hughes brothers on Thursday and appealed for information from the public on the pair's whereabouts.

He said: "It is essential we follow all lines of inquiry and bring those responsible for these tragic events to justice.

"Ronan and Christopher Hughes are known to have links in Northern Ireland and Ireland as well as the road haulage and shipping industries.

"We urge anyone who has been in contact with them or has any information about where they are to get in contact with us.

"Yesterday, on Thursday, October 31, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, acting upon information, stopped a lorry believed to be connected to the Hughes brothers. The vehicle was subsequently seized and no further arrests were made."