Kent

Father and son jailed for modern slavery in Kent

Petr Makula, 48 and his son Mario, 26, have been jailed Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Petr Makula, 48 and his son Mario, 26, have been jailed

A father and son who spent thousands on lavish cars, holidays and jewellery while exploiting victims of modern slavery for a decade have been jailed.

Petr Makula, 48 and his son Mario, 26, threatened and beat their victims, leaving them too scared to complain.

Their victims were forced to work up to 36-hours at a time doing hard manual labour, often without any holiday.

Petr was jailed for eight-and-a-half years, and his son for four-and-a-half years.

Image copyright CPS
Image caption Petr Makula (left) pictured on holiday, and his son Mario pictured in a sports car have been jailed

The Eastern European workers, mainly from Czech Republic and Slovakia, were beaten, forced to live in cramped conditions around Dover, Kent, and often did not have electricity or running water.

Judge Rupert Lowe, presiding, estimated Petr Makula made a criminal profit of £900,000 over an eleven-year period.

The pair were convicted by a jury on Monday, after Petr Makula claimed he could not afford to pay the men he recruited.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Petr Makula was pictured on various holidays, including lavish trips to Dubai, when he claimed he could not afford to pay his workers

The Makulas provided labour to a tile factory in Lydd and a car wash in Dover, but pocketed a large chunk of wages themselves.

The workers were paid as little as £20 per week.

Lorna Lee, from the CPS, said: "This was a well-planned and co-ordinated conspiracy, where the victims, who were in a vulnerable position in their own countries, were promised a better life in the UK.

"The reality was starkly different."

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Mario Makula spent tens of thousands of pounds on cars

During the trial, the court was told the workers felt unable to run away. They were beaten, threatened, and with limited English and hardly any money, had nowhere else to go.

Kent Police investigated when one ex-employee reported what had happened to him.

A large number of exploited workers were then identified dating back to 2007, and eight gave evidence against the Makula family during their trial.

Petr Makula was convicted of six people trafficking offences, and of bringing people into the UK for exploitation.

Mario Makula was found guilty of three similar charges.

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