Lincolnshire slavery report calls for public to be vigilant

Top row (l to r) Bridget Rooney, Gerald Rooney, John Rooney, John Rooney. Bottom row (l to r) Lawrence Rooney, Martin Rooney Snr, Martin Rooney, Patrick Rooney, Peter Doran Image copyright Lincolnshire Police
Image caption Nine members of the Rooney family, who ran a driveway resurfacing business, were jailed in 2017 for modern slavery offences

People are being asked to play a "vital" role in preventing and uncovering modern slavery.

It comes after a report highlighted the plight of victims of a traveller family in Lincolnshire who were made to work for little or no wages.

The Rooney's victims, who worked for the family's driveway business, were kept in squalor and fed on scraps.

One man, who had a mild learning disability, was beaten with a hammer, the report said.

Police began operations against members of the Rooney family in September 2014. Nine were jailed in 2017.

The Lincolnshire Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) report examined the investigation.

It made a number of recommendations, including educating people how to spot modern slavery and the importance of reporting it.

Chair of the board, Barry Earnshaw, said the Rooney's victims were duped after promises of accommodation and work.

"Because of fear they went along with this lifestyle," he said.

Image copyright Lincolnshire Police
Image caption Victims of the Rooney family were forced to live in squalor

Lincolnshire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson said people also needed to take responsibility for their actions.

"People like a bargain and if you have a gardener, or go to a nail bar, or car wash, and the price seems ridiculously low then there is probably something going on," she said.

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