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Driveways firm back to work after charges dropped

ALOCAL paving company is trying to get back to business as usual after a police raid, which they say caused distress to employees and ruined trading earlier this year.

Newstone Barrett Driveways, based in Semington, was recently told it will not have any action taken against it after being investigated for offences relating to human trafficking.

In April this year police raided a caravan site where a number of the company’s Romanian employees were living. The raid immediately received national news coverage, which Newstone Barrett says has seriously damaged the business.

Felix Rooney, who runs the company said, “We want people to know that we’re all honest, hard-working people and the company is trading fairly. Nearly all the guys involved in the raid came straight back to work with us. One man has moved home to be with his family, which he was planning to do anyway.

“This whole thing has just ruined the reputation of the business. It’s made life hard for us; we’ve lost a lot of money and a lot of customers, and we haven’t done anything to deserve it. We’re good at what we do, we do it for competitive prices, and we’re a totally fair employer. Our employees were scared by the police and council raiding their homes at five in the morning, police came to my house and embarrassed me in front of my neighbours, and one of our vehicles was vandalised. The company was all over the news when it happened but  nobody wants to know  now that it’s over.”

Newstone Barrett Driveways Ltd is registered with Checkatrade, which runs background checks on tradespeople, and publishes customer reviews. The Semington paving firm has an overall rating of 9.8 out of 10 from its customers.

Wiltshire Police confirmed that it would not be pressing charges against the firm. A spokesperson for the force said, “It was right and proper to carry out the investigation as there were serious concerns highlighted to the police surrounding the welfare and safety of individuals at the site in Semington.

“As part of the investigation appeals were put out via the media to gather information regarding the welfare of workers. The arrested men were not named, but three companies believed to have links to the site were named, as part of an appeal for witnesses.

“Officers have carried out a thorough investigation, with support from partner agencies, but after careful consideration based on the available evidence have decided no further action will be taken.”