Man pleads guilty to exploiting a worker who lived in a garden shed for 40 years with no light or heating, UK authority says

·3 min read
A snapshot of the conditions inside a shed, in which a laborer was kept for 40 years.
This is the shed that Peter Swailes, 56, kept a worker in for 40 years. Investigating officers from the UK's labor-abuse authority found a soiled duvet and no working source of light or heating in the shed. They said the family's dog had far better living quarters.GLAA/Vimeo
  • A man has pleaded guilty to exploiting a worker for 40 years, the UK's labor-abuse authority said.

  • Peter Swailes, 56, was accused of keeping a man in an unlit garden shed without heating for decades.

  • The man was forced to work for Swailes, and he was paid about 10 pounds a day for his work.

A man in England pleaded guilty to slavery and trafficking offenses in connection with a worker who lived in a tiny shed without light or heating for 40 years, the UK's Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority said.

Peter Swailes, 56, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges related to keeping a man in a wooden shed in his garden for four decades, a press release from the GLAA.

The press release said Swailes was arrested in October 2018 after the police searched a trailer park in Carlisle, northwest England. Both Swailes and his 81-year-old father, also named Peter Swailes, were accused at the time of offenses under the UK's Modern Slavery Act. But the older Swailes died in September 2021 before the trial began, the BBC reported.

The Evening Standard reported that authorities rescued the man from the shed after an anonymous tipoff.

The authorities found the man, who was 58 at the time, in a dark shed without lights or a heating source. GLAA officers said the shed was "in complete darkness" when they went to rescue the man.

The worker, who is now in his 60s, told UK law enforcement that he spent his days working on farms, which involved painting and slating, for the two Swailes men for about £10 ($13.60) a day.

Officers from the GLAA said another shed, where the Swailes family dog slept, was "in a far better state" than the quarters provided for the worker.

Inside the shed from on Vimeo.

The rescued worker is now living in government-supported accommodation, the GLAA said.

"This has been a really harrowing investigation. In all my years in law enforcement, I have never known a modern slavery case where the exploitation has taken place over such a long period of time," said Martin Plimmer, a senior investigating officer, in the press release.

"First and foremost in my mind at this time though is the victim. Let's remember that he has been exploited for all his adult life up until just a few years ago. He is now in his early 60s. This is something that even now I struggle to comprehend. For four decades, he was in effect kept as a slave," Plimmer added.

He continued: "We are sadly all too aware of the fact that he will be traumatised by his experience for the rest of his life. I am committed to ensuring he continues to have the regular, consistent support he needs which allows him to lead as normal a life as he can in the circumstances."

Read the original article on Insider