The West Midlands Police force says it’s secured what it calls a “landmark court order” against a rogue landlord who turned a blind eye to trafficked people in his properties.
In a statement on the force’s website, the landlord Kashmir Singh Binning is accused of leasing three Birmingham properties to a Polish gang that trafficked up to 400 vulnerable people from their homeland and forced them to work for a pittance on farms and rubbish recycling centres.
“The victims were housed in squalid conditions in properties across the West Midlands, fed out-of-date food and forced to scavenge for dumped mattresses to sleep on” says the force, saying that at some properties there were no working toilets, heating, furniture or hot water and some victims told officers how they were forced to wash in canals.
Three of the properties were owned by Singh Binning; despite being warned by the police that his properties were being used in this war, he continued to let them out to the group, getting £135 a week from the suspects for each address.
The landlord - who suffered a serious fire at one of the three properties - also refused to cooperate with the local council which requested remedial work.
The police force, which worked with two local councils on the issue, applied for a Slavery & Trafficking Risk Order against the landlord and this was granted on Friday.
It runs until 2025 and binds Binning by various conditions including not being allowed to accept cash payments from tenants, agreeing to property inspections every three months, and providing the local authority with signed tenancy agreements containing details of all occupants.
Binning was also told he must pay £14,000 in court costs.
A police spokesman says: “Binning’s role was pivotal to the group being able to house victims easily, quickly and at affordable cost. He was friends with some of the suspects and willing to turn a blind eye.
“He claimed he had no idea people housed in his properties were being exploited… but all the evidence suggested otherwise.
“This order shows how seriously we and the courts take the safeguarding of vulnerable people; the judge was very supportive and told Binning he was lucky the order didn’t ban him from letting properties at all.”