TWO men have been found guilty of modern slavery crimes against workers at a Carlisle car wash.

During a lengthy trial at the city’s crown court, jurors heard graphic evidence about terrible conditions at Shiny, Warwick Road.

Several told of working long hours for little pay and being denied breaks when the car wash was busy during 2016 and 2017, and not being given the freedom to take time off.

One described being left “very tired”, hungry and with just £20 in his first pay packet as he worked nine days in a row. He was one of several workers who complained that no protective clothing was provided, and said water had “eaten away at my feet” as it seeped through his trainers.

One worker bought cheap gloves to protect his hands from cleaning chemicals which, employees complained, burned the skin on their face and body.

Workers also reported rat and insect infestation sightings in their “very dirty” Carlisle multi-occupancy accommodation having paid for transportation from their native Romania to north Cumbria. Travel costs and deposits were deducted from weekly pay and wage slips, where issued, understated working hours and overstate the amount of money earned. One worker told police: “They treated me the same like they would do with a slave.”

Defrim Paci, a 42-year-old married father-of-four, was said to have “operated at the top” of the criminal enterprise, buying land and setting up a business which was managed by Sitar Ali.

After a lengthy trial, Paci, of Windmill Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire; and Ali, of Adelaide Street, Carlisle, were yesterday unanimously convicted of conspiracy to require others to perform forced or compulsory labour at Shiny; and conspiracy to facilitate travel with a view to exploitation. Jurors deliberated for almost 27 hours across six days.

Ali was also convicted of possessing criminal property.

Paci and Ali will be sentenced on 30th July. Judge Nicholas Barker remanded both men into custody. A third man, 37-year-old Jetmir Paci, was acquitted on the two conspiracy allegations he denied.