Greetings card slave worker kept in Nottingham loft

Police find modern slavery victim locked in loftImage copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption Police found a man locked in the loft during a raid on a house in Nottingham

A man who forced a Polish man to work 20 hours a day making greetings cards and locked him in a loft during the night has been jailed.

Edward Zielinski, 42, of Birkin Avenue in Hyson Green, Nottingham, made two men to work for little or no money.

He admitted two counts of modern slavery and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

Judge Gregory Dickinson QC told Zielinski he had treated the victims in a “thoroughly degrading way”.

Sentencing him at Nottingham Crown Court, he added: “You made them live in squalor and took away their incomes.

“You took away their dignity as human beings, you fully exploited their vulnerability, you were able to brow beat and control them through threats and intimidation.”

The offences took place between 31 May 2013 and 1 June 2017.

Nottinghamshire Police said father-of-two Zielinski kept hold of the men’s ID documents and often threatened them with violence.

He would also force his victims to urinate in plastic bottles at night rather than wake him and his wife.

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption Edward Zielinski would force his victims to urinate in plastic bottles in the loft

The first victim later started working for an employment agency, but despite earning about £300 a week he was only paid with cigarettes, alcohol, the occasional pieces of clothing and £10 cash.

The victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he ran away twice but was found by Zielinski and brought back to the loft.

“I slept on the wooden floor, there was no mattress, nothing. I had a blanket to cover myself and I wore a jacket,” he added.

“He was unpredictable and if I asked him for anything I was scared he would hit me. He didn’t hurt me because I had to go to work and look normal.

“I have seen a friend being assaulted by him a few times.”

Both victims are being supported by the Salvation Army.

Det Sgt Mike Ebbins, who led the investigation, said the two men were seen as “perfect victims” because they “couldn’t speak a word of English”.

“The first victim was made to work up to 20 hours a day from 8am to 4am with only limited break, earning only £10 a week.”

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