Chinese removed from Travellers' site in Britain

17th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Five men were being held in custody in Britain on Saturday following a police raid on a Travellers' site which saw four Chinese nationals, thought to have been trafficked, removed from the camp to safety.

Around 50 officers entered the Pulmer Water site in Codicote, north of London, on Friday following an intelligence tip-off.

The local Hertfordshire Constabulary police force said the five men, all listed as living in Codicote, had been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences. They are aged 29, 35, 36, 57 and 59.

"As a result of the operation, four Chinese nationals -- a woman and three men -- are now being interviewed by officers at a place of safety in Hertfordshire. It is suspected that the four people have been trafficked into the UK," the force said in a statement.

"Two English men who also live at the site are also being spoken to as potential victims of crime."

Hertfordshire Constabulary added: "Officers have not found evidence to suggest that these individuals were living in particularly poor conditions which makes this operation different to the one conducted at the weekend in Leighton Buzzard."

That comment refers to a raid on a Travellers' site northwest of London where 24 people were removed. Five people have been charged with slavery offences.

A court heard that many of the alleged victims were required to undertake work such as ground work, block paving, resurfacing and retiling for little or no pay.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, residents are from Monday facing eviction from 51 plots on Britain's biggest illegal Travellers' site outside Basildon, east of London.

After a 10-year legal battle, the Irish Travellers are set to be ousted from the Dale Farm plots -- which they own -- as they do not have planning permission for the dwellings on them.

Irish Travellers are historically caravan-dwelling nomads with their own distinct culture and traditions.

© 2011 AFP

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