Enforced labour probe continues

The traveller's site and (below) Insp Keith Ogle.
The traveller's site and (below) Insp Keith Ogle.
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POLICE were today continuing inquiries at a travellers site at the centre of an investigation into claims of enforced labour.

Officers raided the Staining site on Sunday morning to check on the living conditions of migrant workers.

Inspector Keith Ogle

Inspector Keith Ogle

Police arrested one man at the travellers site on Fairfield Road on suspicion of “knowingly being involved in forced labour of another person”.

Insp Keith Ogle, geographic inspector for Fylde, said: “We went on the site not only to arrest someone but also to check on the conditions migrant workers were being kept in.

“There were no problems and if anybody wanted to leave the site they were free to leave.

“It was a crime operation, it was not multi-agency, and it was in no way connected to the potential eviction procedure and civil dispute they are having with Fylde Council.”

The 29-year-old man was arrested at the scene and bailed until April 24 pending further inquiries.

Several plain clothes officers, around 10 uniformed police and traffic cars were involved in the operation while hundreds of letters were sent to local residents to “reassure” them.

The travellers’ have been running a long campaign to stay on the site and the final court case in their battle will be heard on March 1 at the Court of Appeal.

If they lose they will have to vacate the site by July 31.

Coun Maxine Chew, Fylde councillor for Singleton, said: “When I think about my residents and the people who could have been mistreated, I’m very pleased the police are taking such a proactive stance against any illegal activities carried out by the group.”

And Coun Grame Cocker, Wyre councillor for Hardhorn, added: “I don’t know if they will go in July, but the real victims here are the 
people living in the village who are on top of them.”

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