Jury out in Travellers' 'forced labour' trial

A jury hearing allegations of men forced into labour by a family of Travellers has retired to consider its verdict for a fourth day.

William Connors (aged 52), his wife Mary (aged 48), their sons John (aged 29), and James (aged 20), and their son-in-law Miles Connors (aged 24), are all accused of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour between April 2010 and March 2011.

They had also faced a second charge of conspiracy to hold another person in servitude but the trial judge Michael Longman ordered the jury to find the defendants not guilty.

Judge Longman has urged the jury of eight men and four women to consider all evidence heard over the last three months at Bristol Crown Court.

The trial was the culmination of years of work by police as part of Operation Tundra and a seven-month surveillance operation at locations in Gloucestershire and the Midlands.

The family is alleged to have put the men to work on driveways and patios around Gloucestershire under various names, including Designer Drives & Patios, and Sofisicated Drives.

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