Cornwall

Men deny slavery and immigration offences

Police at Cullompton
Image caption The van was stopped near Cullompton, in Devon, on 12 April at about 09:00 BST

Four men have appeared in court charged with modern slavery and immigration offences after 29 Vietnamese nationals were found in a van on the M5.

Truro Magistrates' Court heard police were called after the people were seen getting into the back of a van from a boat in Newlyn, Cornwall, on Friday.

The vehicle was stopped later on the M5, near Cullompton in Devon.

The men - from Kent and Lancashire - were remanded in custody to appear at Crown Court on 7 May.

They are accused of arranging or facilitating the travel of a female with a view to her being exploited and charges of skippering a yacht carrying 29 Vietnamese nationals into Newlyn contrary to the Immigration Act 1971.

Glen Bennett, 55, from Burnley, Lancashire; Keith Plummer, 62, from Sheerness, Kent, and Jon Ransom, 63, also from Kent, pleaded not guilty.

Frank Walling, 72, from Colne in Lancashire, did not enter a plea.

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