Traveller bosses took thousands from workers, court told
WORKERS handed over thousands of pounds of benefit money to their traveller bosses, a court was told.
Members of the Connors family told their workers – often vulnerable alcoholics – that the money would be paid into bank accounts or put in a safe on The Willows caravan site at Staverton, a witness in the Gloucestershire slavery trial revealed at Bristol Crown Court.
Craig Sivier, 40, told how he was picked up from a homeless hostel in Worcester and taken to The Willows, where he lived and worked for the defendants for two-and-a-half years.
The self-confessed alcoholic also accompanied the family to other caravan sites around the country.
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"Billy or Jimmy would take me to Cheltenham post office or I would go there on my own and I would cash four weeks' Giro at a time," said Mr Sivier.
"I would keep £40 for myself and hand the rest – £360 – to the family who said they would save the money in a bank account for me or put it in a safe."
But he never saw the bank account, he said.
Earlier Mr Sivier, who admitted having "a 24-hour-a-day drink problem" said Jimmy Connors told him he would be better off working for them.
"He told me I'd just end up killing myself with drink if I left them," he told the court.
The trial continues.