Man jailed for organised crime following slavery probe at Little Billington site

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A crook has been jailed for three years for organised crime following a police investigation into slavery at a Little Billington traveller site.

Christopher O’Driscol, 35, of Pembury Road, Hackney, pleaded guilty to fraud and concealing or removing criminal property in between 2014 and 2015, as well as three counts of failing to comply with a serious crime prevention order.

O’Driscol was jailed for a total of three years at Luton Crown Court on Monday, April 24. He was also made subject of a confiscation order to forfeit his assets, including £13,000 cash, his vehicle and three plots of land.

O’Driscol was initially arrested during an investigation into suspected modern slavery offences at a travellers’ site in Little Billington, Leighton Buzzard, in October 2015.

Although no modern slavery offences were ultimately prosecuted at court, police found that O’Driscol had been breaking rules laid down by a court order made against him in 2014. These included failing to inform police about his use of vehicles and the possession of multiple mobile phones and stashes of cash.

Financial investigators also uncovered records of tens thousands of pounds being transferred through O’Driscol’s bank accounts, despite the fact that HM Revenue and Customs data showed O’Driscol declared no income for taxation purposes. Officers also prosecuted O’Driscol for a London offence in which he had dishonestly quoted a homeowner for unnecessary work on their property for a cost of £25,000.

After fleeing the country whilst under investigation, O’Driscol was re-arrested in the Netherlands on a European Arrest Warrant in October 2016.

Inspector Alex House, who led the investigation, said: “I am pleased that O’Driscol will serve time for his appalling acts, one of which involved preying on an elderly person in order to dwindle their life savings.

“This investigation has proven that crime does not pay and those who consistently break the law and prey on the vulnerable in our society will be dealt with robustly.”