Three men have gone on trial at Carlisle Crown Court accused of conspiring to force Romanian nationals to perform ‘forced labour’.

The three men involved - Sitar Ali, 33, Defrim Paci, 42, and Jetmir Paci, 37 - have all pleaded not guilty to offences arising out of events at the city’s Warwick Road Shiny Car Wash business.

The three men deny conspiring, between January, 2016, and June of the following year, to require their employees to perform “forced or compulsory labour” at the car wash business.

They also deny conspiring, over the same period, together with others, to arrange or facilitate the travel of Romanian nationals with a view them being exploited at the Shiny Car Wash business.

Sitar Ali has also pleaded not guilty an offence of possessing criminal property.

The prosecution say that this offence happened on May 10, 2017.

After a 12-strong jury was sworn in yesterday, Judge Nicholas Barker issued a warning to the men and women who will try the case.

He told them to not carry out any independent research about the people involved in the case, or about the Warwick Road Shiny Car Wash business. This was because they had sworn to try the defendants on the evidence they hear.

Judge Barker told the jury that they will not need to make a detailed record of the evidence they will hear.

“That falls to me to do,” he said.

They may feel concerned about remembering what was said but, said the judge, he would provide a resume of the evidence.

“Don’t feel you have to be a slave to making notes,” said the judge. “You won’t.”

Judge Barker said that the jurors would want to see how witnesses gave their evidence; to see what their body language was because it was an important indicator and an important opportunity which would be missed if they were looking at a page.

All three defendants - Ali, of Adelaide Street, Carlisle; Defrim Paci, of Windmill Close, Nottingham; and Jetmir Paci, of Minimum Terrace, Chesterfield, were granted bail until the trial resumes today.

Two extra jurors were added to the jury panel but will be discharged once the evidence is being given. The trial is to last six weeks.