Family sentenced for forcing vulnerable people into forced labour

1:57pm Wednesday 19th December 2012

By Ian Craig

FIVE members of the same family have been sentenced to a total of more than 18 years in prison for forcing vulnerable people to work for them.

The Conners family were found guilty at Bristol Crown Court on Friday of conspiring to require other persons to perform forced or compulsory labour.

The sentences passed today are:

• William Connors, 51, formerly of Gloucester Road in Staverton was sentenced to six and a half years imprisonment.

• Breda Connors, 48, formerly of Gloucester Road in Staverton was sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment.

• John Connors, 29, formerly of Gloucester Road in Staverton was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

• James Connors, 20, formerly of Gloucester Road in Staverton was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

• Miles Connors, 24 and formerly of Bowling Back Lane in Bradford was also sentenced to three years imprisonment.

The charges were committed between April 5 2010 and March 23 2011 when the family used several victims, many of whom were homeless or vulnerable, to perform a range of building and manual labour jobs across the country.

Many of the victims were housed in squalid conditions at caravan sites including Beggars Roost in Cheltenham and were paid only a pittance while being subjected to assault, ill-treatment, exploitation and theft of benefits.

The arrests were the result of a year-long investigation, which included a five-month surveillance operation by Gloucestershire police, culminating in March 2011 when warrants were carried out in Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, rescuing 19 vulnerable people.

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