Semington: Investigation Into Potential Illegal Activity

Eight people have been taken to safety from a site in Semington over concerns about exploitation.

Three men, aged 28, 33 and 37, from Semington have been arrested on suspicion of offences relating to human trafficking and released on bail.

Wiltshire Police issued a statement on the operation:

Our investigation continues into potential illegal activity involving Human trafficking at a site in Semington. A warrant was executed early this morning (Monday 20th April 2015) following concerns regarding the welfare of a number of Eastern European men at the site.

This is a multi agency operation involving Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council, British Red Cross, NHS England, The Salvation Army and UKHTC (UK Human Trafficking Centre) with the aim to ensure the welfare of the men and tackle any illegal activity.

We believe that eight men, all from Romania, have potentially been exploited. The victims have been taken to a place of safety and are receiving medical care and support. Interpreters are on hand to support the victims and assist the medical teams.

Major Anne Read, The Salvation Army's Anti-Trafficking Response Co-ordinator, said:

"The Salvation Army is working with Wiltshire Police to rescue and support potential victims of modern slavery. It is vital that victims receive immediate access to specialised support. Our team has been working to assess the needs of the victims and ensure that they have access to accommodation and support at safe houses if needed.

The Salvation Army operates a Government contract to provide vital help and support to adult victims of this pitiless exploitation which gives them the very best chance to try and recover through the comprehensive specialised services we can offer working with our partners."

Maggie Rae, corporate director at Wiltshire Council said: "The men were found in very cramped conditions and it was clear they were very cold, hungry and terrified with no access to any washing facilities.

"Our paramount concern at the council is their welfare and making sure they feel safe, warm and get hot meals and get medical care. The men seemed really pleased just to get something simple like milk in their cup of tea.

"Alongside our partners, we'll continue to work with the police as the investigation continues and be on hand to support those rescued from the site."

The three men aged 28, 33 and 37 from Semington who were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking offences have been released on bail.

Police Crime Scene Investigators and specialist search officers remain at the site in Semington to carry out further analysis. Disruption to the local area will be kept at a minimum.

Supt Sean Memory said: 'Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery and offenders prey on vulnerable people. The victims are often kept in very poor conditions and live in fear and subject to intimidation and violence. It is a complete violation of basic human rights.

Wiltshire Police has a dedicated police team and operation specifically to tackle the issue of Human Trafficking in Wiltshire. This work is intelligence led and we need the local communities to be vigilant and report any concerns so we can put a stop to this inhumane practice.

We would like to hear from anyone who has recently had their driveway repaired or re-surfaced by any company using Eastern European workers. We would also like to hear from anyone who has information regarding Newstone Barrett Driveways, Drivescape Ltd or Signature Driveways.

I would like to reassure the community that we simply wish to speak to anyone who has had work carried out by these companies as they may have information to assist our investigation, I can confirm that customers are not at any risk of prosecution.'

Anyone who has information is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 where details may be left anonymously if preferred.'

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