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Two officers commended for their dedication and tenacity

October 18, 2019
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Two Nottinghamshire Police officers have been awarded a commendation for their work on Operation Microphyte - an investigation into a modern slavery ring.

DC Sarah Fearn (not pictured) and PC Patryk Krasinski were awarded their commendations on Thursday 17 October 2019 at the force's local awards evening at Mansfield Town Football Club.

In May 2015 two vulnerable adults were trafficked into the UK by a two men intent on exploiting them. Bank accounts were opened in their name and totally controlled by the offenders.

The two men were placed at work in a warehouse, receiving just £20 per week from their wages from which they were then charged further expenses. 

The offenders were often abusive and threatening towards both men who lived in fear of violence.  The officers were alerted to the situation in December 2016 and one of the victims was rescued.

As the offenders managed to escape out of the United Kingdom, officers applied for an European Arrest Warrant, which resulted in an extradition of the suspects back to the UK to face the judicial system. 

Enquiries were conducted in both the UK and Poland over a two year period, dealing with sensitive issues and building strong relations with the Polish authorities and police. 

This was the first investigation of this level in Nottinghamshire and involved complex enquiries into bank accounts and mobile phone records to establish the level of exploitation. 

A further victim was identified in Poland and he agreed to return to the UK to give evidence. 

The two offenders appeared at Court in June 2019. The combination of strong evidence and witnesses ensured both pleaded guilty. 

One admitted human trafficking, forced labour and money laundering and was sentenced to three years imprisonment. 

A second was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment. A POCA confiscation order was also set for £42,000. 

Detective Sergeant Mike Ebbins, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "This was a complex investigation with vulnerable victims brought into this country with the sole purpose of being exploited.

"One victim was made homeless in Poland after his parents had passed away and his family home taken away from him; he was targeted by the offenders who promised him a better life in the UK but on arriving he was made to work long hours for no money.

"Evidence was obtained across two countries with assistance from the Polish authorities proving vital in identifying further victims of crime.

"Praise should go to both PC Krasinski and DC Fearn who worked tirelessly to get this to trial, supporting his victims and working closely with his colleagues in Poland. They both fully deserve this award and I'd like to congratulate the pair.

"Combatting slavery remains a priority for Nottinghamshire Police and the result demonstrate that modern slavery will not be tolerated in Nottinghamshire.”

The awards gave the force a fantastic opportunity to recognise and reward officers, staff and volunteers, as well as the general public.

From hard-working volunteers and committed and dedicated staff, to officers going above and beyond the call of duty and members of the public performing acts of incredible bravery, the awards give us all a chance to celebrate the very best of policing.

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