A man has been jailed for imprisoning another man in his six-foot-long shed for over 40 years.
Peter Swailes, who is 56, held a vulnerable worker in a green shed and poor conditions where he worked for £10 a day.
The man was rescued by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) from the shed in October 2018 after a confidential helpline received a tip-off.
On October 3rd, a search warrant was executed at the Hadrian’s Caravan Park near Carlise. Mr Sawiles father was also arrested in his static caravan on suspicion of offences under the Moderns Slavery Act 2015.
Upon his arrest, his response was –
“not all this slavery thing again”.
The GLAA and National Crime Agency officers continued to search the site and discovered a small green wooden shed next to the caravan. After knocking, they were greeted by the victim.
He was agitated and unkempt, informing the officers that he had lived in the shed for 40 years. The victim told the officers that he’d like to wash, showing them a kitchen sink in a building next to the shed he had been using to wash.
The actual shed was in terrible condition. Upon inspection by detectives, they discovered there was only one window that did not close and when the door was closed, the shed fell into complete darkness.
The only sign of heating was a small electric heater in the corner of the shed.
Officers took time to note that the shed used to house dogs on the caravan site was in far better condition than the victim’s prison.
Following interviews with the victim, he stated that he had worked on farms, painting, slating and tarmacking, being paid as little as £10 a day
In interviews, the victim stated that he worked on farms, with the work consisting of painting, slating and tarmacking. He said he was paid as little as £10 per day.
Swailes senior died in 2021, aged 81, shortly before standing trial.
The victim was accepted into the government’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) on the day he was rescued and continues to receive specialist support to this day.
He now resides in supported accommodation outside of Cumbria.
Martin Plimmer, a GLAA Senior Investigating Officer said –
“This has been a really harrowing investigation. In all my years in law enforcement, I have never known a modern slavery case where the exploitation has taken place over such a long period of time.
“It is pleasing to see that Swailes has finally done the right thing and pleaded guilty. 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. Let’s remember that he has been exploited for all his adult life up until just a few years ago. He is now in his early 60s. This is something that even now I struggle to comprehend. For four decades, he was in effect kept as a slave.
“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.”