Inside the ‘slavery’ compound: Bunk beds, trainers and strewn rubbish at Home Counties house


Sleeping five-to-a room and crammed into a cupboard, this is inside the rundown farmhouse where eight suspected modern-day slaves were rescued by police yesterday.

Stinking of cat urine and littered with broken furniture and electrical goods, it is here in this filthy cottage in the Berkshire village of Iver where the immigrants were allegedly held. 

Laundry hangs on make-shift washing lines across the entrance to other living quarters.

Dirty sofas and plastic chairs can be seen set under the awning of a farm cottage a few miles from London’s Heathrow Airport.  

MailOnline gained exclusive access to Willow Tree Farm in Iver Bucks from where occupants were found yesterday.

More than 100 police officers took part in the police operation yesterday.

The victims are alleged to have been forced to work on building sites. They were lead away following the raid clutching their bags and suitcases.

But today the three people arrested on suspicion of modern day slavery protested their innocence and claimed they had not exploited anybody.

An unnamed Romanian bricklayer, 41, his girlfriend known only as Gabriela, 28, and his best friend named as Luigi, 49, told of their shock at being arrested.

All three live in a bungalow on the site in Iver, Berkshire bought for £1.3million in July last year by Jujhaar Singh Brainch. 

Gabriela, who was released by police pending further enquiries, told MailOnline: ‘We are not slave owners! Yes, I was arrested yesterday. It was the first time I have ever been arrested. I’m so embarrassed. I know what the crime police have accused me of – of slavery – but I have not exploited anyone.’

Speaking on behalf of all three Gabriela claimed that the alleged ‘slaves’ were actually Romanian construction workers who earned up to £130 per day. 

She said: ‘All of the eight people who were taken away work in construction. They are bricklayers and labourers. They earn £130 per day.’

Sitting outside the farm cottage, which was raided in a huge police operation yesterday, the three Romanians held their heads in their hands in shock.

‘We have not done anything wrong,’ Gabriela claimed.

‘The police say these people have been treated as slaves but they work and they get paid.

‘They live here and are picked up and taken to work. They earned good money, a lot more money than they would earned back home [in Romania}.

‘They pay rent, £250-a-month, and I look after the property.’

Gabriela’s partner, who declined to give his name, and his friend Luigi both work as bricklayers. They work with the ‘slaves’ and earn the same amount of money – £130 per day, they told MailOnline.

‘I am a bricklayer,’ he told MailOnline. ‘I work on building sites in England.’

The three suspects were released on police bail last night pending further inquiries.

The owner of Willow Tree Farm, Jujhaar Singh Brainch, runs the airport car parking service which uses the land to store cars.

Mr Brainch, who was not arrested in the dawn raid, told MailOnline that he had already handed police documents to show that the house in Iver, Buckinghamshire, was being let through a local estate agent over the past 18 months and that he had no contact with the tenants.

The 38-year-old said: ‘The rent came on time and I was never notified of any problems, so I had no reason to raise any concerns about who was living there.

‘I visited the property about a year ago because some repairs needed to be carried out and there were two Eastern European men there who said they were the tenants. One of them said that he was married and that his wife was out at work.

‘I didn’t speak to them that much and didn’t see anything suspicious taking place.’ 

Mr Brainch runs New Punjab Coaches, a coach hire company in Southall, west London as well as a luxury car and skip hire business and a fleet of HGVs. 

He admitted that he was closely connected to the building trade but denied being involved in anything to do with slave labour.

He said: ‘This has got absolutely nothing to do with my business.

‘I have already told the police that I am prepared to work with them further and provide them with any more information. I know a lot of people in the building trade in Buckinghamshire and if I can help with this investigation, I will.’

Mr Brainch said that the first the first he heard about a raid at the property was when he received a phone call from a friend and the police then got in touch asking to speak with him. 

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