Beds, Herts & Bucks

Connors family head to surrender crime proceeds and compensation

Tommy Connors senior Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Tommy Connors Senior took vulnerable men off the streets with promises of pay and then exploited them

An Irish traveller from Bedfordshire, convicted of keeping men in servitude, has been ordered to surrender £290,000 in proceeds of crime and compensation.

Tommy Connors, 54, must hand over proceeds of £232,752 or have three more years added to his eight-year sentence.

He was jailed at Luton Crown Court in May 2013 over men held at Greenacres caravan park near Leighton Buzzard.

Judge Michael Kay QC has ordered Connors to pay compensation of £43,000 and £15,000 to two men held captive.

At his trial Connors, who was known as Lyncham and head of a traveller family, was said to have exploited and beaten the workers he recruited.

In the process he made huge amounts of money from paving contracts.

Judge Kay said he had targeted victims who were homeless, addicted to drugs or alcohol and isolated.

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Some of the men were kept in a cramped caravan

The men would be recruited at soup kitchens and off the street, with the promise of paid work, food and lodgings.

He would then put them to back-breaking block-paving work, and laying tarmac and gravel.

They were rarely or never paid and, with the constant threat of violence, not allowed to leave.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Numerous men were held at the travellers' site near Leighton Buzzard

Their heads would be shaved and food often consisted of biscuits, Pot Noodles, cheese, soup, bacon, beans and eggs.

"It was a monstrous and callous deceit," the judge told Connors, who has six months to comply with the order.

Confiscation hearings against other members of the Connors' family who have also been jailed have been adjourned until 8 October.

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