Oxford man convicted following modern slavery investigation
A man from Oxford has been convicted of modern slavery offences following a police investigation supported by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).
As part of an investigation led by Thames Valley Police, warrants were executed across the city on the morning of 6 June 2018 with the support of the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Illegal Money Lending Team, Oxfordshire County Council, HMRC and the Department of Work & Pensions.
Michael Joyce, aged 60, of Redbridge Hollow in Oxford, was found guilty by unanimous verdict on Thursday (1/8) of requiring a person to perform forced/compulsory labour, carrying on a regulated activity when not an authorised/exempt person and arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation in a trial lasting 14 days at Oxford Crown Court.
He was arrested on the 6 June 2018 and charged with the offences on the following day on the 7 June 2018.
Between April 2016 and January 2018, around Redbridge Hollow in Oxford and Berinsfield, three victims, two men aged 50 and 29 and a woman aged 30, were subjected to forced labour, debt bondage, where they were forced to work and pay back a debt, and forced criminality, including drug trafficking and theft at the hands of Joyce.
Joyce pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but was convicted by unanimous jury verdict on Thursday (1/8).
“Joyce has been convicted of a number of very serious offences and will now be sentenced by the courts.
Working with all of our partners, we executed warrants in June 2018, and following a lengthy investigation, we are pleased that the jury has reached a unanimous verdict on Joyce’s criminality.
I would like to pay tribute to all of the victims, who have shown great courage and patience throughout our investigation.
Thames Valley Police work with our partners to tackle modern slavery, and we will always investigate such offences thoroughly to bring offenders to justice.”Detective Inspector Ali Driver, Thames Valley Police
Joyce will be sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.