Several members of one family jailed for modern slavery and fraud offences

The Rooney family were described as "agents of cynical manipulation"

Several members of one family jailed for modern slavery and fraud offences

Top (left to right): Bridget Rooney, Gerard Rooney, John Rooney '64, John Rooney '85. Middle (left to right): Lawrence Rooney, Martin Rooney '82, Martin Rooney Snr, Martin Rooney. Bottom (left to right): Patrick Rooney '63, Patrick Rooney '85, Peter Doran | Image: Lincolnshire Police

Several members of a Traveller family have been jailed for a total of 79 years for running a modern-day slave camp.

The Rooney family, from Lincolnshire in England, were described as "agents of cynical manipulation" by the judge as they were sentenced.

The family recruited people giving them little or no wages for work, including in their resurfacing firm.

Martin Rooney (57) was among 11 members convicted of involvement.

Eight other relatives were given jail terms ranging from 15 to six years - while two received suspended sentences:

  • John Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 15 years 6 months
  • Patrick Rooney (31) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 15 years 9 months
  • Bridget Rooney (55) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 7 years
  • Martin Rooney (35) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield received 2 years suspended for 2 years
  • Martin Rooney (57) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 10 years 9 months
  • Martin Rooney (23) of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby received 6 years 9 months
  • Patrick Rooney (54) of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield received 12 months suspended for 2 years
  • John Rooney (53) of Chantry Croft, Pontefract received 5 years 10 months
  • Peter Doran (36) of Washingborough Road, Lincoln received 6 years
  • Gerard Rooney (46) of Washingborough Road, Lincoln received 6 years
  • Lawrence Rooney (47) currently in prison, received 6 years
An aerial view of the Drinsey Nook property | Image: Lincolnshire Police

Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, head of crime for Lincolnshire Police, said many victims were unemployed, vulnerable men.

"They were picked up from homeless hostels, they were taken back to the site - many of whom also had mental health issues and learning difficulties", he said.

"The severity of these crimes is underlined by the sentences imposed by the judge.

"The victims will never get the years back that were taken away from them but I hope this provides them with some comfort that justice has been served and demonstrates that we will do everything in our power to try and stop others suffering in the ways that they did."

"We will not rest on this result as there are potentially other victims of modern slavery in our county.

"We are exploring five active investigations and we will continue to put any victims at the very heart of our investigations."

The hands of one of the victims of the Rooney family | Image: Lincolnshire Police

Reporting restrictions had previously prevented the publication of the UK's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) involvement in the case until the outstanding charges were settled.

Officers from HMRC identified income tax, VAT and tax credit offences and analysed the full extent of the family's illegal trading activities.

Simon York, director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, added: "This was a truly appalling case.

"These people lived a life of luxury by exploiting and abusing highly vulnerable individuals.

"They stripped them of their humanity, forcing them to live and work in terrible conditions.

"HMRC is passionately committed to working closely with police forces and other agencies to protect victims and bring the full force of government sanctions against their abusers, ensuring they are brought to justice and stripped of their illegal assets."

Top (left to right): Bridget Rooney, Gerard Rooney, John Rooney '64, John Rooney '85. Middle (left to right): Lawrence Rooney, Martin Rooney '82, Martin Rooney Snr, Martin Rooney. Bottom (left to right): Patrick Rooney '63, Patrick Rooney '85, Peter Doran | Image: Lincolnshire Police

Additional reporting: IRN