Couple arrested over modern slavery and benefit fraud after Bexhill raid

A man and woman have been arrested today (Wednesday) in early morning raids in connection with modern slavery and benefit fraud.

Warrants were executed following a raid at a property in Bexhill High Street last month when two women were found to be offering sexual services.

This morning police officers raided a residential address in Kings Drive shortly before 8am and a letting agency in Gildredge Road in Eastbourne town centre an hour later.

A 53-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman were arrested during the raid at the house in Kings Drive.

Raid Gildredge Road Eastbourne SUS-211003-140054001

A police spokesperson said, “Police have taken further action against suspected modern slavery activity in East Sussex.

“On Wednesday officers from East Sussex Project Discovery, working with partners including investigators from the Department of Work & Pensions, executed warrants to search a residential address and an office in Eastbourne.

“At the residential address in Kings Drive, officers arrested a man and woman on suspicion of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour, and/or human trafficking, under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and dishonestly making a false representation with a view to obtaining a benefit, under the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

“Documents, digital devices and related records were seized there and later at an office address in Gildredge Road.

Police raided a property in Kings Drive SUS-211003-103001001

“The investigation relates to a recent police visit to an address in Bexhill High Street at which officers had found two women from Brazil who admitted offering sexual services.

“We continue to work with partners to develop intelligence about any signs that vulnerable workers are being exploited over their conditions of employment and accommodation in East Sussex.”

Discovery in East Sussex brings together local police officers, fire officers, Stop the Traffik Hastings, King’s Church and staff from Hastings and Rother Councils, DWP, HMRC, Home Office Immigration, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and local charities, all with the aim of seeing victims of modern slavery rescued and supported, and perpetrators brought to justice.

For advice and information on spotting signs of modern slavery and how to report it see the Sussex Police website