Chesterfield man denies modern slavery charges after investigation into car washes

The Shiny car wash in Penrith, Cumbria.
The Shiny car wash in Penrith, Cumbria.

Three men – including one from Chesterfield – charged by police investigating alleged modern slavery offences are to go on trial later this year.

Cumbria Constabulary announced in October that the trio had been brought to court following an investigation by the North Cumbria crime and safeguarding team.

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This is said to relate to a number of car washes in North Cumbria, including two Shiny premises – at Carlisle’s Warwick Road and in Penrith – and Auto Clean Car Wash at King Street in Carlisle.

The three men – Sitar Hamid Ali, 30, Defrim Paci, 39, and 35-year-old Jetmir Paci – appeared at Carlisle Crown Court today (Monday, January 7).

All three men are charged both with conspiracy to require persons to perform forced or compulsory labour; and also conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of others with a view to exploitation.

During a 30-minute court hearing in front of Judge Peter Davies, the three men each pleaded not guilty the charges they face, which cover a nine-month period between September 1, 2016, and June 4, 2017.

In addition, Ali, of Adelaide Street, Carlisle, denied a further charge.

This alleges the possession of criminal property - namely cash - on May 10 of 2017.

Ali; Defrim Paci, of Windmill Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield, near Mansfield; and Jetmir Paci, of Walton Walk, Boythorpe, Chesterfield, were granted conditional bail by Judge Davies.

Their trial in front of a jury is due to start on October 28. It is estimated this will last around six weeks.

Before then, another hearing will take place at the crown court in early September.