Man admits exploiting 'slave' who he kept in a 6ft shed for 40 YEARS

Man admits exploiting 'slave' who he kept in a 6ft shed for 40 YEARS

January 18, 2022

Man, 56, admits exploiting ‘modern slave’ who he kept living in a 6ft shed with no heating and a soiled mattress for 40 YEARS and paid as little as £10 a day

  • Peter Swailes Jr pleaded guilty ahead of his scheduled modern slavery trial
  • He and his father previously denied charges around exploiting an individual
  • His father, also called Peter Swailes, denied same charge but died last year 

A man has admitted exploiting a slave who spent 40 years living in a cramped 6ft shed with no heating and a soiled duvet on the floor.

The victim, in his late 50s, worked on farms, painting, slating and tarmacking for Peter Swailes Jr, 56, and was paid as little as £10 per day, investigators were told.

The defendant had previously denied conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of an individual between 2015 and 2019.

His father, Peter Swailes, 80, from Carlisle, denied the same charge but died last year.

Today, however, Swailes Jr pleaded guilty to the charge at Carlisle Crown Court ahead of his scheduled modern slavery trial. 

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

The slave spent 40 years living in a cramped 6ft shed with no heating and a soiled duvet on the floor 

Officers found the victim looking like a ‘rabbit in headlights’ with a soiled duvet, electric heater, one chair and a metred TV inside

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.

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

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

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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