Several family members have been sentenced today (Tuesday, September 12) after being convicted of offences relating to modern slavery and fraud in Lincolnshire.
All defendants were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court after a series of linked trials which began in late 2016.
John Rooney, 31, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 15 years, six months, Patrick Rooney, 31, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 15 years, nine months, Bridget Rooney, 55, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received seven years, Martin Rooney, 57, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 10 years, nine months and Martin Rooney, 23, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received six years, nine months.
Lawrence Rooney, 47, who is currently in prison, received six years.
Head of Crime for Lincolnshire Police, Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, said: “The severity of these crimes is underlined by the sentences imposed by the judge. The victims will never get the years back that were taken away from them but I hope this provides them with some comfort that justice has been served and demonstrates that we will do everything in our power to try and stop others suffering in the ways that they did.
“We will not rest on this result as there are potentially other victims of modern slavery in our county. We are exploring five active investigations and we will continue to put any victims at the very heart of our investigations.
“Modern Slavery isn’t just forced labour like we have seen in Operation Pottery – it can take many forms including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, fraudulent activity or criminal exploitation. This doesn’t always happen to our most vulnerable either – any man, woman or child could be trafficked or recruited in the activity, often with promise of money or other benefit. Whatever form it takes – modern slavery is a truly appalling and devastating crime.
“We are working hard to raise awareness of modern slavery which will help us safeguard more victims. Please follow our advice for spotting modern slavery and contact us immediately if you believe someone is at risk.”
Reporting restrictions prevented the publication of HMRC’s involvement in this case until the outstanding charges were settled.
Officers from HMRC supported Lincolnshire Police Force from the outset of the investigation, identifying income tax, VAT and Tax Credit Offences and analysing the full extent of the family’s illegal trading activities.
Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “This was a truly appalling case.
“These people lived a life of luxury by exploiting and abusing highly vulnerable individuals. They stripped them of their humanity, forcing them to live and work in terrible conditions.
“HMRC is passionately committed to working closely with police forces and other agencies to protect victims and bring the full force of government sanctions against their abusers, ensuring they are brought to justice and stripped of their illegal assets.”