Sports Direct man jailed for modern slavery offences

Image source, Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption,
Denis Paczkowski and Sara Dabrowska pleaded guilty to modern slavery offences

A man who recruited two vulnerable men from Poland to work at Sports Direct has been jailed.

Denis Paczkowski brought the men to work at the Shirebrook-based company but then took control of their bank accounts, paying them £20 a week each.

Police said he and his partner used the money to fund their lifestyle.

Paczkowski, 38, admitted human trafficking, forced labour and money laundering and was jailed for three years at Nottingham Crown Court.

His partner, Sara Dabrowska, 30, also pleaded guilty to money laundering and was handed a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Image caption,
Agency workers at Sports Direct's headquarters in Shirebrook come mainly from Eastern Europe

One of the victims, now 40, was targeted at a homeless shelter in Gdansk, Poland, by Paczkowski and came to live with him and Dabrowska at their home in Nottingham in May 2015.

The couple took control of his bank account and despite making about £265 a week, he only received £20 - which was later upped to £45 to cover travel expenses.

Nottinghamshire Police said the man slept on a mattress on the floor and was afraid of Paczkowski, who was "often abusive and threatening" and twice slapped him.

The other man, aged 52, came to attention of police after seeking help at a homeless shelter, saying he was a victim of human trafficking.

This sparked an investigation, with officers piecing together evidence from bank and mobile phone records.

Paczkowski admitted facilitating entry into the country with intent to exploit, making a person perform forced labour and money laundering.

In addition to his prison sentence, he was made subject to a 10-year Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order.

A Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order totalling £42,508 for the pair was also ordered by the court.

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