Five members of a traveller family have been sentenced to a total of almost 19 years in prison for luring vulnerable men off the streets and forcing them into hard labour. The Connors from Cheltenham made the men live in dirty caravans and gave them little or no pay.
Today a judge said they had exploited their victims' vulnerability for their own commercial gain. Rebecca Broxton reports.
A traveller family who lured vulnerable men off the streets to carry out hard labour for little or no pay has been sentenced to almost 19 years in prison.
The Connors from Cheltenham employed a personal workforce, confiscated their benefits, and forced them to live in squalid conditions.
Rebecca Broxton reports from Bristol Crown Court:
Five members of the same traveller family from Cheltenham have been sentenced to a total of 19 years after being found guilty of keeping their own private workforce.
More to follow.
There were scenes of hysteria at Bristol Crown Court today, with one woman having to be carried out of the public gallery. The court erupted as a traveller family was convicted of luring vulnerable men to work for them.
The Connors from Cheltenham employed them for little or no pay and made them live in squalid conditions. Ken Goodwin reports.
Five members of the same traveller family have been found guilty of keeping their own private workforce.
William Connors, 52, his wife Mary, 48, their sons John, 29, and James, 20, and their son-in-law Miles Connors, 24, were all convicted of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced
or compulsory labour between April 2010 and March 2011.
The vulnerable men were forced to live in squalor, carry out menial tasks and work in hard and often freezing conditions.
They were frequently homeless, alcoholics or drug addicts and they were used, and abused, as cheap labour for the Connors' paving and patio businesses.