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24 June 2011, 13:45
Police officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Force Support Unit were joined by local officers and CID teams, Dog Units and Scientific Services at 5.30am on Friday 24th June 2011.
They entered an unauthorised encampment in Ensign Way, Hamble, to execute a number of warrants.
Around 120 officers were involved in the operation, codenamed Operation Helm, where they carried out searches of caravans and vehicles linked to the encampment.
Three people were arrested on suspicion of offences under Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (which creates an offence of holding someone in slavery or servitude or requiring them to perform forced or compulsory labour). They were taken to local police stations where they are currently being questioned by detectives.
They are a 26-year-old man from Oxfordshire, a19 year old man from Wiltshire and a 52 year old woman from Oxfordshire.
A fourth person, a 25-year-old man from Bedfordshire, was also arrested for Public Order offences.
Responding to the operation, DCI Kath Barnes said:
“This forms part of our drive to ‘Keeping People Informed’ about the work of the police and was a general response to community concerns regarding alleged acts of criminality.
“Hampshire Constabulary will not tolerate those who choose to lead criminal lifestyles and we will always deal robustly with offenders. We would encourage all members of the public to report any suspicious conduct or behaviour to police at all times as this enables us to assess and act upon that information according to its importance.”