Inspector ‘horrified’ as nine people removed from boat in slavery investigation

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AN INSPECTOR has told of his horror at people being removed from a boat in Portsmouth in a police slavery probe.

ITF Seafarers’ Trust worker Darren Procter said he saw the conditions fishermen faced on board a scallop trawler searched at Camber Dock last Thursday.

The vessel moored after one of its seafarers allegedly sustained a head injury.

But police boarded the boat after receiving a call for help from one of nine foreign workers on board.

Mr Procter, 40, who is ITF’s inspector for the south coast, boarded the trawler alongside officers.

Describing what he saw, he said: ‘I was horrified. All I can say is these were broken men.’

Following the search, the nine men, aged between 25 and 57, were removed to safety by the National Crime Agency.

Mr Procter said they were ‘experienced and dedicated fishermen’ who had been removed from the boat.

n Two men – a 30-year-old from Annan in Scotland and a 33-year-old from Southport in Merseyside – were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences.

They are being questioned by police.