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Two people arrested in darlington on suspicion of modern slavery

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Durham Police have arrested two people on suspicion of slavery offences following Darlington raid

TWO men have been arrested on suspicion of committing modern slavery offences.

cops raided the ‘Best Hand Car Wash’ on Yarm Road, Darlington on Wednesday, December 6th and arrested two men, aged 21 and 26. They are currently in police custody.

Five suspected slavery victims were found working at the car wash. The men have been taken to a victim reception centre where they will be supported by specially trained officers and other agencies.

The raid was carried out by Durham Constabulary, with support from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) who detained the men on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act.

It is the first operation of its kind in Darlington and forms part of Operation Sledgehammer, the force’s long-running campaign to tackle serious and organised crime.

Detective Sergeant Tonya Cook, from Durham Constabulary’s safeguarding team, led the investigation. “As a force, we take allegations of modern slavery extremely seriously and are committed to investigating and tackling the exploitation of vulnerable people,” she said.

“Modern slavery is an emerging threat nationally. We are working with our partners to tackle this complex type of crime and are committed to supporting those who are victims.

“However, we also need to ask the community to consider where they spend their money. Modern slavery is happening in plain sight here in County Durham and Darlington and takes many different forms – think about where you get your car washed or where you get your nails done.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to look out for potential victims, and I would urge anyone who has any concerns about activity relating to people being exploited in this way to report it to us.”

Dave Powell, senior investigating officer for the GLAA said: “Today’s action illustrates the approach taken to tackling modern slavery across the UK is now built upon a strong alliance between law enforcement and other agencies.

“Working in partnership to protect vulnerable and exploited workers is at the heart of what we do and the GLAA is committed to doing all it can to help eradicate these illegal working practices that cause such misery.”

Following the raid, the premises was secured and further enquiries were conducted by representatives from the Health and Safety Executive, Trading Standards, North East Regional Special Operations Unit, Northumbrian Water and immigration officers.

Support was also provided by Darlington Borough Council and the British Red Cross who worked in partnership with the police and GLAA to run the victim reception centre.

John Morris, British Red Cross director of independent living and emergency response in the North of England, said: “The Red Cross was asked by Durham Constabulary to provide practical and emotional support to anyone evacuated as a result of this operation, in a place of safety.

“Our trained staff and volunteers were on hand to provide emotional support, as well as practical necessities such as clothing, refreshments and first aid.

“The Red Cross works alongside emergency services across the UK to help those in crisis.”

County Durham and Darlington Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said: “No one should have to suffer at the hands of gangmasters. I am really pleased to see the victims being brought to safety and given the advice they need.”

Anyone with concerns about modern slavery happening in their area should call Durham Constabulary on 101 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.

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Update: Hartlepool School Children warned to be vigilant

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A School in Hartlepool has today warned parents and school children to be vigilant following a suspicious incident at the school fence.

Eldon Grove Academy sent a message to parents warning that whilst children were in the playground at lunch time a man approached the fence and spoke to one of the children.

It’s reported that the man approached and offered children ice lollies at Ward Jackson Primary School in Hartlepool.

While someone in a red Volvo was driving suspiciously when a member of staff approached the car drove away erratically.

A spokesman for Ward Jackson Primary School has told Police Hour “Yesterday lunchtime a man tried to engage in conversation with a pupil who was securely inside the school perimeter fence.

“The safety of our pupils and community is paramount and we immediately notified the police and have notified our parents and urged them to be vigilant.”

 

A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council told Police Hour: “The safety of children in Hartlepool is our top priority, and as soon as the school made us aware, we notified our other schools as a precaution.”

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Hartlepool School Children warned to be vigilant

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A School in Hartlepool has today warned parents and school children to be vigilant following a suspicious incident at the school fence.

Eldon Grove Academy sent a message to parents warning that whilst children were in the playground at lunch time a man approached the fence and spoke to one of the children.

It’s reported that the man approached and offered children ice lollies at Greatham Church of England School in Hartlepool.

While someone in a red Volvo was driving suspiciously when a member of staff approached the car drove away erratically.

Greatham Church of England School in Hartlepool also warned parents “We have been notified that a man has approached a local school offering children an ice lolly, please stay vigilant.”

Cleveland Police have not commented on the incident.

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Naked runner who terrified over 40 women caught by discarded till receipt

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A NAKED runner who targeted dozens of young women has been caught after determined beat officers used a discarded shopping receipt to track him down.

Over the last few weeks, the serial flasher has been targeting women on the riverbanks in Durham City.

But a discarded till receipt for a packet of Haribo found at the scene eventually helped officers trace an 18-year-old suspect, who was arrested and has now admitted his guilt.

Since April, around a dozen women reported that a man, naked except for his running shoes, had been seen on the riverside footpaths between Durham Rowing Club and the Maiden Castle sports complex.

Police believed that he was waiting for lone women, many of them joggers using the popular riverside routes, before emerging from his hidden vantage point and indecently exposing himself.

Although a dozen women, aged from their late teens to their 40s, reported the flasher, police believe there may have been many more incidents which went unreported.

Durham City Police carried out a series of operations, including plain clothes patrols in which female officers posed as joggers to lure the suspect out.

But the breakthrough came when one of the tenacious officers found a place on the parapet of a disused railway bridge which the culprit used to spot his victims coming.

An empty sweet packet and shop receipt found nearby allowed officers to scour CCTV footage from the store and pinpoint the moment that the sweets were bought, giving them an image of a suspect which matched the description given by the victims.

Officers were then able to trace the suspect to a city centre address, where he was arrested and admitted all the offences.

The man has since been admitted to Checkpoint, a four-month intervention programme to deal with his behaviour.

Sergeant Kay Howarth, of Durham City Police, said: “This was quite an unusual case because the riverside in Durham is usually such a safe place and is visited by families all the time, which made us all the more determined to catch him.

“It must have been very alarming for these women to have a stranger jump out at them while they were simply out enjoying a run.

“We would like to thank all those who rang in to report this man and for all those local runners who helped with our investigation.

“Our officers were determined to find this man and we will continue to work to make sure Durham is a safe place for everyone”.

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