Four remanded on slavery charges
Three brothers and their brother-in-law have been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with enslaving four men found at a travellers' site.
James (Jimmy) Connors, 23, Tommy Connors, 27, and Patrick Connors, 19, appeared at Luton Magistrates' Court along with brother-in-law James (Big Jim) Connors, 33.
The charges relate to four alleged victims who were removed from the Greenacres travellers' site in Bedfordshire after a police raid on Sunday.
They were brought under section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which came into force last year.
The court heard that James Connors (Big Jim) faces six charges of conspiracy in relation to three victims, all of which were allegedly committed between April last year and August this year.
The other three men each face four charges of conspiracy, two for each in relation to two victims, which are said to have happened between June last year and April this year.
The court heard that many of the alleged victims were required to undertake work such as ground work, block paving, resurfacing and retiling for little or no pay. They are currently in varying conditions both mentally and physically.
District Judge Leigh Smith said none of the defendants would be granted bail and remanded them in custody to appear at Luton Crown Court on December 5.
Howls of sorrow erupted from the wives of the four defendants who were sitting in the public gallery as the judge remanded the men in custody. One cried out: "What am I going to do with my children?"
The charges followed an investigation by the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit and relate to alleged offences against the men at the Greenacres travellers' site.