A TRAVELLER family in Lincolnshire have been found guilty of an array of horrifying modern slavery offences which saw disabled and homeless people treated like animals in disgusting conditions.
According to express.co.uk:
Members of the Rooney family employed a total of 18 people – including homeless people and some with learning difficulties – on little or no wages and forced them to live in horrific conditions.
The family, who are based on Traveller sites in Lincolnshire, subjected their victims to beatings and threats, Nottingham crown court heard.
One of the victims is believed to have been kept by the Rooney family for a shocking 26 years.
The victims, who were aged between 18 and 63, were kept in caravans on traveller sites without access to toilet facilities or running water and were forced to work long hours for the family, often doing manual works including tarmacking driveways and block paving.
They were also forced to do chores around the traveller site, and those who were made to look after pets lived next to the dog kennels and were often given the family’s leftovers as food.
Lincolnshire Police described Operation Pottery as one of “the largest and most complex” in its history.
The investigation alone was huge, with 1,830 statements taken from 939 people and more than 2,000 lines of enquiry pursued.
The criminal gang also conned vulnerable residents out of three houses to a total value of £528,000.
Authorities seized £100,000 worth of stolen property, including four caravans, three jackhammers, seventy packs of bricks, Lincoln’s cemetery gates – and even a labrador.
Chief Superintendent Nikki Mayo, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “This has been our force’s largest and most complex investigation into modern slavery and we are delighted to get the right outcome for victims.
“The focus of this case has always been the victims, ensuring that they get the help and support they need to live their lives free from the treatment they received at the hands of the defendants.
“The greatest positive of this case is that so many of the victims have now got their lives back, they’ve got a real second chance at some peace and happiness and to grow and flourish in their communities – it’s very much deserved.
“Through intelligence from partner agencies and the public and our officers visiting the traveller sites we knew these men were being kept in very poor conditions and made to work for little money. The extent of these conditions soon became apparent – the victims were ‘accommodated’ in caravans without running water or access to toilet facilities, and in some cases the electricity to them was dangerously obtained from a nearby pylon.
“The men were incredibly vulnerable. Some had learning disabilities or mental health issues while others were completely dependent on alcohol or drugs. Some had no idea what was happening when we arrived at the site or when they were transported into the care of support services and we worked hard to gain their trust.
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