Man admits modern slavery of victim kept in 6ft shed for 40 years

A man has admitted exploiting a vulnerable victim who told investigators he had lived in a shed for 40 years.

Peter Swailes Jr, 56, pleaded guilty at Carlisle Crown Court on Tuesday ahead of his scheduled modern slavery trial.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to conspiring with his father, Peter Swailes, 80, to arrange or facilitate the travel of an individual between 2015 and 2019 with a view to him being exploited.

His father, from Carlisle, denied the same charge but died last year.

The charges came after a three-year investigation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), supported by Cumbria Police and the National Crime Agency (NCA), after a man was found living in a 6ft shed on a residential site north of Carlisle.

GLAA and NCA officers found there was no heating in the cramped shed, with a soiled duvet on the floor and a metered television.

After they knocked on the door they were greeted by the victim who appeared dishevelled and agitated as he told them he had lived there for 40 years, said the GLAA.

When interviewed the victim said he worked on farms, painting, slating and tarmacking, and was paid as little as £10 per day.

Peter Swailes Jr leaving Carlisle Crown Court

(PA )

The victim, in his late 50s, received specialist help after he was rescued and now lives in supported accommodation outside Cumbria.

GLAA senior investigating officer Martin Plimmer said: “I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and professionalism of my investigators in dealing with what has been a very complex investigation, one that has thrown up numerous challenges along the way.

“First and foremost in my mind at this time though is the victim. We are sadly all too aware of the fact that he will be traumatised by his experience for the rest of his life.

“I am committed to ensuring he continues to have the regular, consistent support he needs which allows him to lead as normal a life as he can in the circumstances.”

Swailes Jr, of Cryndlbeck Stables, Low Harker, Carlisle, was bailed until sentencing on February 4.


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