Man Was Kept In Backyard Shed As A Slave For 40 Years

Man aged 56 has pleaded guilty to modern-day slavery after investigators find a man living in his shed for the last 40 years.

The 58-year-old man was discovered by specialist officers during a raid of a residential site north of Carlisle back in October 2018. The raid was executed after a call from a confidential helpline. After their arrest officers charged both Peter Swailes Jr, 56, and his dad Peter Swailes, 80, with a modern slavery conspiracy crime. 

These charges were the result of a three-year investigation by the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), who were supported by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Cumbria Police.

When searching the property the NCA and GLAA found a six-foot shed with a metered television, a soiled duvet and no heating. 

The victim appeared agitated and dishevelled stating he had been living in the shed for 40 years while working on farms, tarmacking, slating and painting for just £10 per day said the GLAA. 

Swailes Jr pleaded guilty at the Carlisle Crown Court on Jan 18th 2022. Originally he pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiring with his father to facilitate or arrange travel of an individual between the years of 2015 and 2019. His father denied the same charge but died last year. 

After he was rescued, the man was medically assessed by trauma specialist officers and a senior investigating officer described him as being ‘traumatised, ‘like a rabbit in the headlights and very confused’, also stating he had been living in conditions ‘no human being should live in’.

He now lives in supported housing just away from Cumbria. 

Officer Martin Plimmer, GLAA Senior Investiagting Officer said: 

“First and foremost in my mind at this time though is the victim. We are sadly all too aware of the fact that he will be traumatised by his experience for the rest of his life.

I am committed to ensuring he continues to have the regular, consistent support he needs which allows him to lead as normal a life as he can in the circumstances.”

Swailes Jr has been placed on bail until his sentencing hearing on 4th Feb. 

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