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Three years for man in slavery case

A man has been jailed for three years for keeping two men in servitude in one of the first convictions of its kind in England.

John Rooney, 35, of Iver, Buckinghamshire, was sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court and was also given a £10,000 fine.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "Between 1 January 2013 and 16 May 2013, Rooney held a 30-year-old man and a 43-year-old man by coercion to make them provide work and services for him and his family.

"The offence took place in Holly Bush Lane in Iver, Buckinghamshire, and the victims indicated that they had been forced to work for Rooney for over a year."

Detective Inspector Mark Baxter said: "This is believed to be one of the first convictions nationally for servitude and is the result of meticulous work by the investigation team.

"One of the victims bravely came to police to report Rooney in July last year, which began our long and complex investigation. This was a particularly nasty case and the victims have shown great courage in giving evidence against Rooney and helping to secure this conviction.

"I hope the knowledge that Rooney is behind bars for some time will enable the victims to start moving on from this ordeal, and encourage other victims of servitude to contact police."

Superintendent Steve Hockin, area commander for Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire, said: "Whilst these offences are rare the fact that they often take place behind closed doors makes them difficult to discover. I would encourage anyone with suspicions of similar activities to contact the police confident that we will take any accusation seriously."

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