Rooney family slavery gang put behind bars for 79 years

Nine members of a notorious traveller family based in Lincoln have been handed jail sentences toiling 79 years and seven months for running a modern-day slavery camp.

Sentencing of the Rooney family took place at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday, September 12.

The longest jail term handed down by Judge Timothy Spencer QC was 15 years and nine months.

He described the modern slavery and fraud offences as “chilling in their mercilessness”.


The sentences

Sentences ranged from 15 years in prison to suspended jail terms. They were as follows:

Patrick Rooney

Patrick (below), 31, of Drinsey Nook, Saxilby near Lincoln, has been jailed for 15 years and nine months.

Charge: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, fraud by abuse of position, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, theft (two counts).

Patrick Rooney, 31

John Rooney

Patrick’s twin John Rooney of Drinsey Nook has also been jailed for 15 years and six months.

Charge: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, conspiracy to defraud, fraud by false representation, theft (two counts).

John Rooney, 31

Martin Rooney

Martin Rooney, 57, of Drinsey Nook, was described as the ‘head of the family’. He has been sentenced to 10 years and nine months in prison.

Charge: conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, unlawful wounding.

Martin Rooney, 57

Bridget Rooney

Courts heard Bridget Rooney, 55, of Drinsey Nook, was the ‘matriarch’ of the family. She has been put behind bars for a total of seven years.

Charge: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Bridget Rooney, 55

Martin Rooney

Martin Rooney, 35 of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield has been jailed for two years, suspended for two years.

Charges: Conspiracy to defraud, converting criminal property (two counts)

Martin Rooney, 35

Martin Rooney

Martin Rooney, 23, of Drinsey Nook, has been jailed for six years and nine months. 

Charges: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Martin Rooney, 23

Patrick Rooney

Patrick Rooney, 54 of Sainfoin Farm, Beaconsfield, has been handed a 12 month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Charges: Converting criminal property

Patrick Rooney, 54

John Rooney

John Rooney, 53, of Chantry Croft, Pontefract was jailed for five years and 10 months. 

Charges: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour (two counts).

John Rooney, 53

Peter Doran

Peter Doran, 36,  of Washingborough Road, Lincoln, was jailed for six years. 

Charges: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Peter Doran, 36

Gerard Rooney

Gerard Rooney, 46 of Washingborough Road in Lincoln was jailed for six years. 

Charges: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Gerard Rooney, 46

Lawrence Rooney

Lawrence Rooney, 47, is currently in prison. He received a sentence of six years. 

Charges: Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.


The Rooney family tree

The Rooney family from Drinsey Nook travelled the county to enslave victims including homeless and disabled people before forcing them to work for little or no pay.

Of the 18 victims aged between 18 and 63 identified as part of the major police investigation, were individuals who had drug and alcohol problems.

Remarkably, one man’s terrifying ordeal spanned 26 years of servitude.

The ten men and one woman ran a driveway resurfacing company, through which they forced victims to work for them for little or no pay.

They were housed in squalid conditions, in caravans with no running water or toilets while the Rooney family lived a life of luxury, taking regular, extravagant holidays.

While victims were ‘not physically trapped’, detectives added they had been emotionally and physically abused, making them too scared to leave.

Victims were forced to live in foul conditions

Victims were forced to live in foul conditions

Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, Head of Crime for Lincolnshire Police, said: “The severity of these crimes is underlined by the sentences imposed by the judge.

“The victims will never get the years back that were taken away from them but I hope this provides them with some comfort that justice has been served and demonstrates that we will do everything in our power to try and stop others suffering in the ways that they did.

“We will not rest on this result as there are potentially other victims of modern slavery in our county.

“We are exploring five active investigations and we will continue to put any victims at the very heart of our investigations.

“Modern Slavery isn’t just forced labour like we have seen in Operation Pottery – it can take many forms including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, fraudulent activity or criminal exploitation.

“This doesn’t always happen to our most vulnerable either – any man, woman or child could be trafficked or recruited in the activity, often with promise of money or other benefit. Whatever form it takes – modern slavery is a truly appalling and devastating crime.

“We are working hard to raise awareness of modern slavery which will help us safeguard more victims. Please follow our advice for spotting modern slavery and contact us immediately if you believe someone is at risk.”

Almost £100k of unpaid tax

Those convicted of ‘Cheat the Public Revenue country to common law’ offences also relate to unpaid tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to the value of £97, 308.06.

Reporting restrictions prevented the publication of HMRC’s involvement in this case until the outstanding charges were settled.

Officers from HMRC supported Lincolnshire Police Force from the outset of the investigation, identifying income tax, VAT and Tax Credit Offences and analysing the full extent of the family’s illegal trading activities.

Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “This was a truly appalling case.

“These people lived a life of luxury by exploiting and abusing highly vulnerable individuals. They stripped them of their humanity, forcing them to live and work in terrible conditions.

“HMRC is passionately committed to working closely with police forces and other agencies to protect victims and bring the full force of government sanctions against their abusers, ensuring they are brought to justice and stripped of their illegal assets.”