Clacton: Bernard, Saimir and Adriatik Leshi cleared of modern slavery

Washing a car Image copyright Justin Sullivan/Getty
Image caption One witness in the Leshi trial said he washed up to 400 cars a day

Three men accused of treating migrant workers “like slaves” at a car wash have been found not guilty.

Brothers Benard and Saimir Leshi, 27 and 29, and their relative Adriatik Leshi, 43, of Clacton in Essex, denied modern slavery offences.

During the trial, a worker told Chelmsford Crown Court he had to wash up to 400 cars per day during 11-hour shifts at a car wash in Wellesley Road.

The defence said these claims were “an exaggeration”, however.

A second trial of the three Albanian men began in January, as the first was abandoned last summer.

Worker Nicolai Candelea told the court he had worked for the Leshis for a week but was not paid – though defence barrister Mathew Dance said his pay was withheld in order to repay his travel costs.

After arriving from Romania he was placed in accommodation with a dozen other people, who had to share one toilet and wash in a sink, he said.

“Another week there and I would have fallen off my feet,” he said.


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