Portsmouth couple ‘made financial use’ of Polish nationals

Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton and District Commander Superintendent Maggie Blyth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A POLISH man who was promised work in Portsmouth has told a court how his earnings were taken off him.

Dawid Siwak, 30, and his wife Roza Urbanowicz, 34, both of Chichester Road, Portsmouth, deny four counts of keeping a person in servitude, and Mr Siwak a count of trafficking.

Mr Siwak is alleged to have trafficked four Polish nationals into Portsmouth and then made them work for his own financial gain.

The court heard how the men stayed in houses in Nelson Road and Laburnum Grove, and that their wages were controlled by Mr Siwak.

On day two of the hearing in Portsmouth Crown Court, witness Zbigniew Lipkowski, who came over from Poland with promise of work, gave evidence through a translator.

Mr Lipkowski said that he was told to open a bank account for his wages to go into, but then had to hand his bank card and pin number to Mr Siwak.

The court also heard how during one job packing salads at Natures Way Foods, in Dundas Spur, Portsmouth, Mr Lipkowski was not getting all the money he had earned.

Prosecutor Barnaby Shaw said: ‘Were you paid in the region of £250?’

Mr Lipkowski replied: ‘Yes, my last one should have been £270, but I had £60.’

Jurors were told by Mr Shaw how during the trial, which is expected to last four weeks, evidence showing how the worker’s money was being transferred into bank accounts controlled by Mr Sawik and Ms Urbanowicz will be presented.

He said that between April 2011, to March 2012, there were ‘significant amounts of cash being paid into the defendant’s bank accounts.

This then included regular transfers of money from Mr Sawik’s account to one in Poland under the name of Eva Siwak.

Mr Shaw said: ‘On April 13, 2012, £180 went to Eva Siwak in Poland.

‘And again in April 30, 2012, the same amount.

‘The evidence that is going to be put before you demonstrates clearly that Dawid Siwak encouraged these people from Poland, fully intending to exploit them.

‘You can tell that by the way he made financial use of them.

‘Housing them in cramped conditions, they weren’t working for themselves.

‘I have referred to this as servitude because they could not escape and because of the circumstances he put them under.

‘Roza Urbanowicz was compliant in what was going on.

‘Her bank accounts showed she was a beneficiary.’

The trial continues.