Rooney family slavery lincolnshire
Convicted gang members (top row, L-R): Bridget Rooney, Gerald Rooney, John Rooney, 53, John Rooney, 31 (middle row, L-R): Lawrence Rooney, Martin Rooney, 35, Martin Rooney Sr, Martin Rooney, 23 (bottom row, L-R): Patrick Rooney, 54, Patrick Rooney, 31, and Peter Doran.Lincolnshire Police

Eleven members of a family in Lincolnshire have been found guilty of a multitude of slavery offences against 18 victims, many of them homeless or disabled, in Lincolnshire. Members of the Rooney family, who lived at Traveller sites around Lincoln, targeted the vulnerable and made them work for little or no pay.

The Rooney's targeted potential slaves on the streets including homeless people with drug and alcohol problems and people with learning difficulties, Nottingham, Crown Court heard, as reported in the Guardian.

One of the victims was working for the Rooney's for 26 years.

He and others were forced to work in exchange for accommodation in filthy dilapidated caravans without toilets, water or heating.

The impact of these conditions and the forced labour was significant, prosecutors said. Many of the victims became malnourished.

They are reported to have used the money made off their workers backs for holidays to Barbados, cosmetic surgery and training sessions at a Manchester United football school.

"These members of the Rooney family lived lives of luxury at the expense of their victims, condemning them to live in fear, misery and squalor, said Janine Smith, of the Crown Prosecution Service.

"For them, exploitation, violence and extortion were a way of life. The defendants have caused serious harm to the people they exploited, some of whom have now passed away."

After four trials, the convictions resulting from the largest ever modern slavery investigation can now be reported, which began just under three years ago.

Slavery in the UK

The convictions follows yesterday's (10 August) announcement by the National Crime Agency that there are more than 300 active investigations into trafficking in the UK.

The NCA estimates that tens of thousands of victims, some as young as 12, have been sold to families in the UK from Europe.

"The victims, whose identities will remain anonymous, were all adults aged between 18 and 63," said Lincolnshire Police Chief Superintendent Nikki Mayo.

"They had been located and picked up by the defendants from all over the country and specifically targeted because they were vulnerable and homeless.

"They were promised that they would be looked after, sheltered and fed in return for work and were then trafficked into the site.

"In fact they were being completely exploited – working long hours tarmacking driveways and block paving for the family. These businesses operated illicitly by using stolen materials and tools and advertised on hoardings where they didn't have permission to do so."

The following family members will be sentenced in September:

  • John Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Conspiracy to defraud, Fraud by false representation, Theft (two counts)
  • Patrick Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Fraud by abuse of position, Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, Theft (two counts)
  • Bridget Rooney (55) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Martin Rooney (35) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield – Conspiracy to defraud, Converting criminal property (two counts)
  • Martin Rooney (57) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Unlawful wounding
  • Martin Rooney (23) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
  • Patrick Rooney (54) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield – Converting criminal property
  • John Rooney (53) of Chantry Croft, Pontefract – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour (two counts)
  • Peter Doran (36) of Washingborough Road, Lincoln – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Gerard Rooney (46) of Washingborough Road, Lincoln – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Lawrence Rooney (47)currently in prison – Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour