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Travellers' families keep homeless as slaves says judge

Patrick Rooney, who was jailed for 15 years, claimed slaves were being kept at travellers' sites across the country 

Patrick Rooney, who was jailed for 15 years, claimed slaves were being kept at travellers' sites across the country 

A judge has claimed homeless and vulnerable people are being forced to live as slaves in travellers' sites across Britain. 

Judge Timothy Spencer, QC, made the remarks as he sentenced the Rooney traveller family who kept 18 homeless men as slaves in squalid conditions for decades.

The millionaire family - dubbed 'The Rooney Lynch Mob' - were jailed for a total of 79 years after making more than £1.5million from the exploitation at Drinsey Nook in Lincolnshire.

During the trial, Patrick Rooney - who was jailed for 15 years - claimed what happened at Drinsey Nook was ‘no different’ from what was going on at any other site in the country - that all travellers had workers operating under similar conditions.

Judge Spencer said: ‘Sadly I very much fear you may be correct about that. But that does not make any of it right.’

He said that while society and government may have been ‘slow to wake up to this pernicious wrongdoing’, legislation was introduced in 2010 to tackle modern slavery.

Martin Rooney Snr

Bridget Rooney

Martin Rooney Snr (left) got nine years while while matriarch Bridget Rooney (right) got seven years

The Rooneys kept homeless and vulnerable people in squalid conditions, forcing them to work

The Rooneys kept homeless and vulnerable people in squalid conditions, forcing them to work

‘The jury’s verdict made it crystal clear that society regards what was going on at Drinsey as completely unacceptable’,

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