Birmingham & Black Country

Slaves paid less than £2 an hour at Staffordshire factory

Mihai Varga Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Mihai Varga transported men from eastern Europe for factory work

A gangmaster who brought men from Romania to work in a factory for less than £2 an hour has been jailed.

Mihai Varga, of Ashwin Road, Birmingham admitted exploiting the men who worked 12-hour shifts at a food processing factory in Staffordshire.

The men, aged between 26 and 50, were kept in cramped conditions in a room at Varga's home in Winson Green.

Varga, 39, was jailed for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday for more than 20 modern slavery offences.

Varga transported the men from eastern Europe before his arrest in September. He was caught following a joint investigation by West Midlands Police, the National Crime Agency and the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority.

Det Con Nick McCullogh, from West Midlands Police, said Varga is believed to have been exploiting workers "over several years".

The men were found living in "squalid conditions" in a "small room and often having to share mattresses on the floor".

Investigations to identify other victims are ongoing.

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