Three arrests in Horley modern slavery investigation

Police appeal
Police appeal

Three people were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences following a multi-agency operation at an address in Shipley Bridge, Horley, on Monday (May 14).

Surrey Police say that two men and a woman were also arrested on suspicion of fraud offences and being in possession of a stolen car, a caravan and a dog as a result of the initiative, known as Operation Memory.

A police statement says the operation involved 30 Surrey Police officers and took place in cooperation with Tandridge District Council, Surrey Trading Standards and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.

The clampdown focussed on establishing whether exploitation through slavery, poor living conditions or low and non-existent wages was taking place.

Enquiries remain ongoing to establish whether anyone at the address is a victim of exploitation.

The three people who were arrested have been interviewed and released under investigation, pending further enquiries. The suspected stolen vehicles have been seized, while the dog has been returned to its rightful owner.

Neighbourhood Detective Inspector Jackie Elkins said: “The warrant was carried out following information that occupants were involved in criminal activity and that other occupants at the address were being exploited. Our investigation remains ongoing to establish whether any modern slavery offences have taken place.

“The operation was a success, resulting in three arrests, the seizure of suspected stolen vehicles, as well as being able to reunite a dog, also believed to have been stolen, with its owner.

“Modern slavery is a threat and is an offence that is happening around us in our local communities. This operation proves that protecting the vulnerable and exploited victims of this horrific crime and pursuing those who commit it is something we take extremely seriously.

“I urge anyone who has any concerns about activity relating to individuals being forced to work against their will for low or no wages, or being controlled or mistreated, to report it to us.”

Anyone with concerns about individuals who may be involved are urged to call us on 101 (999 in an emergency) or go to https://surrey.police.uk/advice/protect-yourself-and-others/human-trafficking/

Alternatively, suspicions can be raised anonymously through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you think you are a victim of modern slavery please seek help. The Modern Slavery Helpline can assist you to understand what help is available including information, advice and ways to access support. The helpline is confidential and you don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to. For more information, visit https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/ or call 08000 121 700

The Salvation Army can also help. Call their 24 hour helpline on 0300 3038151 or visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/human-trafficking