Lincolnshire Police says victims of the Rooney family’s modern slavery operation will receive a share of more than £1million in criminal proceeds following an investigation into the family’s assets.
12 family members and associates were jailed for more than 90 years between 2016 and 2018, but the Economic Crime Unit has been pursuing the case ever since.
Overall, criminal benefits of £4,174,827.54 have been identified and confiscation orders for £1,083,403.61 have been made, along with default prison sentences for those convicted should the orders not be paid.
Chief Superintendent Nikki Mayo said: “I never thought that almost five years ago we would be in a position to hand back money, in terms of wages earned and monies stolen, to these victims.
“This is an incredibly proud moment for the investigation team and myself.”
She added: “This six-figure confiscation order is an excellent end to Operation Pottery and proof that modern slavery doesn’t pay.
“With all proceeds of crime cases we do continue to work hard and identify assets and cash to ensure as much of the criminal benefit is paid as possible.”
Operation Pottery was one of the largest modern slavery investigations ever undertaken in the UK.
Officers carried raids across Lincolnshire, Nottingham and London in 2014, finding 18 victims aged 18-63, many of whom had learning disabilities, mental health issues, or substance addictions.
At Drinsey Nook in Lincolnshire, victims were left living in squalor without running water or toilet facilities, and in constant fear of violence as they were forced to work in the family tarmac business.
During the Rooneys’ trial, the court heard how the family wore Rolex watches, drove expensive cars, took luxury holidays, and lived in palatial homes.
They were also found to have plundered £36,000 of one man’s income support and disability living allowance.
So far, investigators have identified twins Patrick and John Rooney as the biggest beneficiaries of the family’s crimes, with £936,377 and £1,408,542 tied to their names respectively.
Both currently serving 15 year sentences, Patrick has now been ordered to hand over £438,514 and John £152,591.
If they fail to do so within a given time period, Patrick would receive an additional sentence of four and a half years, and John 18 months.
Criminal benefit is the amount of money identified through someone’s specific offending and, in some cases, their criminal lifestyle.
Once the benefit is established work is carried out to identify the offender’s assets and cash that are available to pay back that benefit and an order is then applied for at court in accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The law allows for further orders to be made against an offender in the future until the full criminal benefit has been paid.
This means that investigators can continue to identify assets and cash from offenders, over and above the original confiscation order, until the full identified criminal benefit is paid.
A court will assess the criminal benefit and the amount available to meet it and make a confiscation order in those amounts. This order can be the total criminal benefit or a lesser amount depending upon the assets of the offender.
For full details of the confiscation orders, see https://goo.gl/ZVL8aG.