TILBURY Sikhs have helped Afghani immigrants found in a shipping container with a dead countryman.

Essex Police have confirmed the dead man and 34 men, women and children found at Tilbury Docks on Saturday morning were Sikhs from Afghanistan.

Local Sikhs have provided clothing and religious supplies for the survivors, who are being questioned at an immigration reception centre near the port today.

Superintendent Trevor Roe, of Essex Police, said: "The welfare and health of the people is our priority at this stage.

“Now they are well enough, our officers and colleagues from the Border Force will be speaking to them via interpreters so we can piece together what happened and how they came to be in the container.

“We now understand that they are from Afghanistan and are of the Sikh faith. We have had a good deal of help from partners within the local Sikh community in the Tilbury area to ensure that these poor people, who would have been through a horrific ordeal, are supported in terms of their religious and clothing needs.

“The Red Cross are also helping; they have provided food and welfare help for the people overnight. We are grateful for their support and I would like to say a big thank you to them.”

Four of the victims are still being treated for dehydration and hyperthermia at Southend Hospital, but doctors have discharged the other 30, including 11 men and women and seven children from Basildon Hospital.

All will be taken care of by the Border Force in a suitable location once police have finished questioning them.

A casualty bureau set up for anybody concerned about a friend or relative, has received about a dozen calls so far.

People living in the UK should call 0800 0560944 and people outside of the UK can call 0207 1580010.