A gang has been jailed for running a large scale slavery operation which saw Polish nationals trafficked into the UK to be used as modern day slaves.
The four men – Sebastian Mandzik, Robert Majewski, Pawel Majewski and Seweryn Szmyt – were all involved in transporting the vulnerable victims on the promise of well-paid work.
The victims were housed in cramped conditions and forced into menial labour, with their wages being paid into bank accounts controlled by the gang.
Newcastle Crown Court heard any resistance on the part of the victims was met with violence and intimidation by the group.
Mandzik was sentenced to a total of 12 years, Robert Majewski eight years, Pawel Majewski seven years and Szmyt five years.
Northumbria Police said they were concerned modern day slavery was becoming an increasing issue across the country.
Detective Superintendent Steve Barron said: “Protecting vulnerable people is my absolute priority and I’m pleased these men have been jailed for exploiting vulnerable people who were coerced into the country on the promise of well-paid work.
“Unfortunately, once here they were forced to live in horrible conditions and carry out work for little or no pay. This investigation has been a genuine multi-agency effort which has helped make the victims of this offending safe and punish those responsible.
“The victims are now in safe locations and are being supported by specialists from partner agencies and our officers.
“This sort of exploitation is simply not acceptable and I hope this sends a warning to those who think they can exploit other people that we are out to catch them and they will ultimately end up in jail.”