A man who is understood to be sought by Essex Police as part of the investigation into the 39 lorry trailer deaths has been arrested at Dublin port this afternoon.
The man, in his twenties and from Northern Ireland, was arrested after getting off a ferry on Saturday afternoon.
A blue Scania truck that he was driving has been impounded by the police.
It comes as police sniffer dogs are today scouring the £400,000 detached Cheshire home of a haulage boss and his wife – the last known owners of the lorry carrying 39 migrants who froze to death.
Joanna Maher, 38, and her husband Thomas, also 38, from Warrington, were arrested yesterday in a dawn raid and have been held on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter.
It followed the arrest of Mo Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, the driver of the Scania truck. He was held on suspicion of murder on Wednesday and remains in custody.
And yesterday, a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland was detained at Stansted Airport on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter, Essex Police said.
Thomas Maher and his wife Joanne were arrested at 4am yesterday from their Cheshire home over the deaths of 39 migrants. They had just returned from being abroad
Police were today still searching their home and neighbours saw sniffer dogs going in. Three police cars were also stationed outside the family home in Warrington, Cheshire as well as a dog car
The couple’s three cars worth more than £150,000 including a white Chevrolet Corvette, a Range rover Discovery and a Range Rover Sport were today still on the driveway (pictured, police remain at the property)
Gardai Police said this afternoon: ‘Earlier today at Dublin Port An Garda Siochana arrested a male in his early 20s from Northern Ireland on foot of an outstanding court order for an offence in this jurisdiction.’
The man is due to appear before the Criminal Courts of Justice this afternoon.
It comes as police were today still searching the home of Mr and Mrs Maher, with neighbours reporting sniffer dogs going in and out.
Three police cars were also stationed outside the family home in Warrington, Cheshire as well as a dog car.
MailOnline can today reveal that the couple were arrested after they flew back into the UK. The couple have a family home in Spain but often travel to Ireland and Bulgaria.
The night before his arrest, father-of-three Mr Maher, 38, said: ‘We’ve just flown back from abroad. I have told the police we are back. I’m just about to take the kids out for a meal.’
Hours later they were arrested. One neighbour said: ‘I looked out and saw Tom in the door way watch as a police van left. I think Joanna was arrested first.’
The couple’s three cars worth more than £150,000 including a white Chevrolet Corvette, a Range rover Discovery and a Range Rover Sport were today still on the driveway.
The couple have three children including two boys, aged 18 and 11, and a 15-year-old girl. Mr Maher has insisted he sold the lorry on October 3 last year after owning it for a year.
He told MailOnline before his arrest: ‘It’s disgusting what’s happened – it’s horrible. I went to the British police as we were registered owners in Bulgaria.
‘I phoned them myself. They were happy we had come forward. They are well aware of who they are dealing with in southern Ireland.
‘It’s not nice to be associated with this. We’re shocked.’
He added: The police said thanks for ringing and I told them I was at home. I told the police who the previous owner was.
‘The police took my phone number and email address. Seeing all this wasn’t nice.
‘I would just like the police to get on with their investigation.’
Hairdresser Mrs Maher said: ‘My name was down as owning the lorry cab. But we sold it a year ago. It’s nothing to do with us now.’
It comes as detectives are continuing to question four people over the deaths of the 39 migrants – including Mr and Mrs Maher.
A 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland was detained at Stansted Airport on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter, Essex Police said.
It followed the arrest of the driver of the Scania truck on suspicion of murder on Wednesday, who remains in custody.
On Thursday, detectives were granted more time to question Mo Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, after the bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in the refrigerated trailer in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of Wednesday.
In Belgium, police are hunting the driver who delivered the trailer to Zeebrugge, the port it left before arriving in the UK.
A spokesman from the Belgian prosecutor’s office said: ‘We’re trying to identify the driver.’
He said Belgian authorities were also working to ‘track the route of the container’ and find anyone responsible for ‘collaborating with the transport’.
‘We would like people to be arrested as soon as possible,’ he added.
Essex Police initially believed all of the dead were Chinese nationals, but the force said at a press conference ‘this is now a developing picture’ amid reports several may be Vietnamese.
Pham Thi Tra My (left) had texted her mother whilst taking the journey to the UK. The family of Nguyen Dinh Luong (right) are also concerned for his safety
Her parents, Nguyen Thi Phong and Pham Van Thin (right), have said it was ‘very painful’ to receive the text – saying she must have known she was going to die when she sent it
The Vietnamese migrants are all thought to have travelled from the same district, the Can Loc district, which is pictured right. In text messages sent at 10.28pm GMT on Tuesday, Pham Thi Tra told her mother, ‘I love you so much…I’m sorry.’ Pictured left, the screenshot of Tra My’s last text
Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said she would give no more details about the nationalities of the victims until formal identification had taken place.
The BBC said it has been in contact with six Vietnamese families who fear their relatives are among the dead, with some having the smuggling fees repaid.
Relatives of 26-year-old Pham Tra My told the broadcaster they have not been able to contact her since she sent a text on Tuesday night saying she was suffocating.
‘I am really, really sorry, Mum and Dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed,’ she wrote.
‘I am dying, I can’t breathe. I love you very much Mum and Dad. I am sorry, Mother.’
Her family said they had paid £30,000 for her to be smuggled into Britain, which has now been repaid.
Parents Nguyen Thi Phong and Pham Van Thin, told CNN it was ‘very painful’ to receive the text – saying she must have known she was going to die when she sent it.
‘I’ve lost both my loved one and my money,’ her father Pham said, claiming he and his partner scraped together the money to pay for their daughter to travel to the UK.
In Vietnam, Nguyen Dinh Gia, the father of 20-year-old Nguyen Dinh Luong, feared his son was among the container victims.
This harrowing image shows a fleet of private ambulances arriving at Tilbury Docks to take away the victims on Friday
Final journey: How the 39 tragic migrants ended up in Purfleet, Essex, dead in the back of a refrigerated biscuit lorry
He had not spoken to his son since last week when he told his father he was trying to reach the UK by joining a group in Paris.
‘He often called home but I haven’t been able to reach him since the last time we talked last week,’ Nguyen Dinh Gia told the Associated Press.
‘I told him that he could go to anywhere he wants as long as it’s safe. He shouldn’t worry about money, I’ll take care of it.’
He explained his son left Vietnam to work in Russia in 2017 and had since passed through Ukraine, Germany and France.
If the fridge on the hermetically sealed trailer was not running there would be no air coming in, suffocating people inside, according to Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association.
It is not yet known when the victims entered the trailer, where temperatures can be as low as minus 25C if the fridge is activated, or the exact route it travelled.
Belgian officials said the trailer arrived at Zeebrugge at 2.49pm on Tuesday and left the port the same day en route to Purfleet.
The trailer arrived at Purfleet at around 12.30am on Wednesday, and was picked up by the cab, known as the tractor, which arrived from Northern Ireland via Holyhead in North Wales on Sunday.
The lorry left the port at Purfleet shortly after 1.05am before police were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue in Grays at 1.40am.
China has called for joint efforts to counter human smuggling, while vigils have been held in London and Belfast to pay tribute to the victims.
The Vietnamese embassy in London has said some families have contacted them asking about relatives but it is yet to receive any information from police.