Gloucestershire Police carried out warrants at three properties in Gloucestershire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire after a year long investigation, including a 5 month surveillance operation of the Connors family was triggered by the discovery of the remains of a body, which was found near the Connors family home in May 2008.
The body was that of Christopher Nicholls, who had been working for the Connors for 3 years and was reported missing by his parents in 2005. He was struck by a car in 2004.
19 vulnerable people were found living at Beggers Roost caravan park in Staverton living in squalid conditions and were subject to assault, theft of benefits and exploitation.
Survivor Mark Ovenden told Channel 4 he was heading to his local soup kitchen in Bournemouth when a white van pulled over ahead of him. The driver approached him and offered him a job near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire. He was taken to Beggers Roost and subjected to modern slavery for the next 2 years of his life.
Some of the rescued men had been kept at the Connors property for up to 30 years and having been institutionalised, did not recognise themselves as victims.
5 members of the Connors family stood trial and were charged with offences involving the serious mistreatment of people who, because of their personal circumstances, had little option but to remain with the Connors.
All 5 members of the Connors family were found guilty of the conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour between April 2010 and March 2011 and are facing a maximum sentence of 14 years.
The Dark Figure* is an ongoing photographic project that investigates and documents UK neighbourhoods where victims have been identified as modern-day slaves.
Photo: Bamfurlong Lane, Staverton, Cheltenham, courtesy of The Dark Figure