Man faces jail for exploiting workers

Court case
Court case

A man who exploited migrant workers in Peterborough, making them live in a garage and work long hours for almost no money, is facing jail.

David Lakatos will appear in the dock at Huntingdon Crown Court today (Thursday) after pleading guilty to conspiring to facilitate the entry into the UK for the purpose of exploitation at a hearing yesterday,

Between 2010 and 2015, Lakatos, (30), of Ratcliffe Street, Peterborough exploited eight people for his own financial gain, each selected because they were homeless and vulnerable.

All the victims were recruited at a rail station in Nove Zamky, Slovakia, and were living rough as a result of personal issues.

In March 2012, police learnt how one of Lakatos’ victims was living on the streets with his son after his marriage broke down and he lost his job.

They were approached by a group of Slovakian Roma people offering the local homeless community to go to the UK.

They were promised work for £70 per week. They were taken to a small village where they were kept in house before being put on a bus from Bratislava to London.

At the station in London, the victim and his son were met by Lakatos who brought both men to Peterborough and accommodated them in a garage next to his own house.

Officers were told how Lakatos had assisted the victim to get a national insurance number and a bank account, however Lakatos had kept all the documents. Lakatos’ would have his victims’ wages paid to him, with just £1 per hour they worked given to them.

They worked long hours in extremely poor conditions, without proper equipment or clothing and lived in Lakatos’ garage without heating and running water, and with limited access to bathroom facilities in the main house.

They were only fed once a day, usually with leftover food from the Lakatos’ family meal, and on occasion were subject to violence. They were only allowed out with a chaperone.

Lakatos, speaking through a Slovak interpreter, also admitted two counts of battery against one of the victims of his exploitation, and two counts of fraud at yesterday’s court hearing.

His mother, Maria Lakatosova, (51) of Highbury Street, Peterborough will also be sentenced today after she appeared at the court via video link yesterday, pleading guilty to one count of acquiring criminal property.

They were arrested as part of Operation Launch, a police operation to tackle exploitation in the city. A number of raids took place last April, while Lakatos was arrested in December.