South East Wales

Third man found in south Wales slavery inquiry

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Media captionOfficers say a 60-year-old was recovered from a small farm in St Brides on Tuesday

A third man has been found by police in an anti-slavery inquiry in south Wales.

The 60-year-old British man, discovered after a raid on a farm at St Brides, near Newport, is having his health checked by specialist Red Cross staff.

Three men from the village have been arrested bringing the total number of arrests in the operation to seven.

On Monday a Polish man was found at Cariad Farm, in nearby Peterstone, living in poor conditions. A British man was found there in March.

It is understood the third man was found following a police raid at the former Oakfields plant nursery in St Brides on Tuesday afternoon.

Three men from St Brides - aged 53, 38 and 20 - were arrested on suspicion of slavery and servitude offences.

Body search

The "unprecedented inquiry" was sparked after Darrell Simester, 43, from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, was found in March at Cariad Farm, about a mile from St Brides.

Mr Simester had gone missing 13 years ago while on holiday in the south Wales resort of Porthcawl.

He was found living in poor conditions with torn clothes and teeth missing and was described as being "vulnerable".

Image caption Darrell Simester had been missing for 13 years

It sparked a major police inquiry which led to dawn raids at three sites in south Wales on Monday, including Cariad Farm, listed by Newport Council as a Gypsy/traveller site.

The four arrested on Monday - a 66-year-old man and a 42-year-old both from the Marshfield area, a 36-year-old man from the Cardiff area, and a 42-year-old woman from Penhow - remain in police custody.

As part of the inquiry, police have been searching a compost heap at Cariad Farm following intelligence that a body may be buried there.

They have been searching for three days using mechanical diggers.

Speaking at a press conference at Cariad Farm on Wednesday, Ch Insp Huw Nicholas of Gwent Police said specialist officers would remain there at least until the weekend.

"There's no sign of us leaving this site," he said.

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Media captionIt is understood the third man was found at a former plant nursery in St Brides

"The excavation has been larger than we expected. It's been more than we had anticipated.

"We don't know what we're going to find or what's going to come to light."

When asked why police had waited six months after the discovery of Mr Simester before carrying out the raids, he said: "It's an unprecedented inquiry.

"There aren't many investigations like this. We had to understand fully what the situation was.

"We can't just jump into a situation like this."

Mr Nicholas said officers had received an "awful lot of information" from members of the public following the arrests.

He said they were still keen to hear from the author of an anonymous letter which was sent to another police force making certain allegations and providing information relevant to the inquiry.

Mr Nicholas added that the condition of the Polish man who was found on Monday was still being assessed.

Local residents in the small community of St Brides were shocked by the latest developments.

Cath Whatley, housekeeper at the Inn at the Elm Tree pub, said: "Everybody is talking about it and wanting to know what's gone on. They are stunned, I would say. It's very scary.

"You can't imagine slavery going on in this day and age in Wales."

Gwent Police has urged anyone with information to contact them on 101 quoting log 66 23/09/13 or via Crimestoppers, which is independent of the police and guarantees complete anonymity, on 0800 555 111.

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