Several family members have been sentenced today after being convicted of offences relating to modern slavery and fraud offences in Lincolnshire.
- John Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 15 years 6 months
- Patrick Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 15 years 9 months
- Bridget Rooney (55) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 7 years
- Martin Rooney (35) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield received 2 years suspended for 2 years
- Martin Rooney (57) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 10 years 9 months
- Martin Rooney (23) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 6 years 9 months
- Patrick Rooney (54) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield received 12 months suspended for 2 years
A further four men will be sentenced later this afternoon.
All defendants were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court after a series of linked trials which began in late 2016.
Further details on the case can be found here:
*Those convicted of ‘Cheat the Public Revenue contrary to common law’ offences
relate to unpaid tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to the value of £97,308.06.
Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, Head of Crime for Lincolnshire Police, said:
“The severity of these crimes is underlined by the sentences imposed by the judge. The victims will never get the years back that were taken away from them but I hope this provides them with some comfort that justice has been served and demonstrates that we will do everything in our power to try and stop others suffering in the ways that they did.
“We will not rest on this result as there are potentially other victims of modern slavery in our county. We are exploring five active investigations and we will continue to put any victims at the very heart of our investigations.
“Modern Slavery isn’t just forced labour like we have seen in Operation Pottery – it can take many forms including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, fraudulent activity or criminal exploitation.
“This doesn’t always happen to our most vulnerable either – any man, woman or child could be trafficked or recruited in the activity, often with promise of money or other benefit. Whatever form it takes – modern slavery is a truly appalling and devastating crime.
“We are working hard to raise awareness of modern slavery which will help us safeguard more victims. Please follow our advice for spotting modern slavery and contact us immediately if you believe someone is at risk.”
Reporting restrictions prevented the publication of HMRC’s involvement in this case until the outstanding charges were settled.
Officers from HMRC supported Lincolnshire Police Force from the outset of the investigation, identifying income tax, VAT and Tax Credit Offences and analysing the full extent of the family’s illegal trading activities.
Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“This was a truly appalling case.
“These people lived a life of luxury by exploiting and abusing highly vulnerable individuals. They stripped them of their humanity, forcing them to live and work in terrible conditions.
“HMRC is passionately committed to working closely with police forces and other agencies to protect victims and bring the full force of government sanctions against their abusers, ensuring they are brought to justice and stripped of their illegal assets.”
Tips for spotting signs of modern slavery:
- Physical appearance: victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse. They may look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn.
- Isolation: victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own or seem under the control and influence of others. They may rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work
- Poor living conditions: victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and / or living and working at the same address
- Few or no personal effects: victims may have no identification documents, have few personal possessions. They may always wear the same clothes. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work
- Restricted freedom of movement: victims have little opportunity for free movement and may have had their travel documents retained.
- Unusual travel times: they may be dropped off / collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night.
- Reluctant to seek help: victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers. They may fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family.
More information is available of on our modern slavery page.
Call 101 to report or 999 if you believe someone is in immediate danger. Alternatively if you don’t wish to contact the police, please call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121700 or visit: www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/report.