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UK family enslaved addicts and people with disabilities 'to fund lavish lifestyle'

At least 18 victims had been working for the family for up to 26 years for little or no pay.

rooneys Source: Lincolnshire Police

ELEVEN MEMBERS OF the same family have been found guilty of fraud and modern slavery charges at Nottingham Crown Court in the UK today.

The family enslaved at least 18 victims – some of whom had disabilities, mental health difficulties or alcohol addictions – in order to fund their lavish lifestyle, police said.

All victims were aged between 18 and 63; one of the victims had been working for the family for 26 years.

Investigating police said the victims were housed in caravans without running water or toilet facilities.

If they tried to escape, they were chased and brought back to the Traveller site, the court heard. The family would sometimes use alcohol or drugs to placate their victims.

Other elderly victims were encouraged to sign over their properties for prices below their market value. At least two victims who died left their assets to the family.

Modern slavery A caravan one of the victims was housed in. Some of the family's victims were homeless and promised accommodation in exchange for work. Source: Lincolnshire Police

Chief Superintendent Nikki Mayo said that the ‘employees’ were “not paid very much if at all”.

“When they weren’t working for the company, the men had to collect scrap, sweep, tidy up or look after pets around the sites. This exploitation was illegally funding a lavish lifestyle for the defendants.”

While their ‘labourers’ were suffering, this family were taking luxurious holidays to Barbados, Australia, Egypt and Mexico, the purchase of high performance BMWs, spa days and even cosmetic surgery.

Those convicted today (pictured in the main photo from top to bottom, left to right) are:

  • Bridget Rooney (55) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Gerard Rooney (46) of Washingborough Road, Lincoln – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • John Rooney (53) of Chantry Croft, Pontefract – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour (two counts)
  • John Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, conspiracy to defraud, fraud by false representation, theft (two counts)
  • Lawrence Rooney (47) currently in prison – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Martin Rooney (35) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield – Conspiracy to defraud, converting criminal property (two counts)
  • Martin Rooney (57) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, unlawful wounding
  • Martin Rooney (23) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, assault occasioning actual bodily harm
  • Patrick Rooney (54) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield – Converting criminal property
  • Patrick Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, fraud by abuse of position, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, theft (two counts)
  • Peter Doran (36) of Washingborough Road, Lincoln – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Two other family members were found not guilty of similar offences.

The case was part of Lincolnshire Police’s Operation Pottery investigation which seeks to clamp down on modern slavery operations in the UK.

The eleven members found guilty will be sentenced in September at Nottingham Crown Court.

Comments have been closed as those convicted are due to be sentenced.

Read: Teenage boy stabbed to death after being confronted by men with machete

Read: Police arrest man (41) after releasing footage of jogger pushing woman into path of bus

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