Father and son jailed for exploiting workers paid as little as 50p per hour

A father and son who lived the “high life” and posted pictures on social media of themselves posing with new cars and expensive jewellery have been jailed for modern slavery offences.

Petr Makula, 48, and his son Mario, 26, recruited men from the Czech Republic and Slovakia who they forced to “endure horrendous living conditions”.

The pair, of Granville Street, Dover, Kent, were found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court of multiple offences of human trafficking and modern slavery following a three-month trial.

Petr Makula (pictured, left) was jailed for eight and a half years and Mario Makula (pictured, right) for four and a half years.

A Kent Police spokesman said: “The workers were promised a better life in the United Kingdom but were instead forced to share a single property in Dover with limited access to central heating or hot water, and virtually no money to spend.

“During the trial the jury were shown images taken from the Makulas’ social media accounts, which showed Mario wearing heavy gold chains and posing in front of a number of expensive cars.

“His father was pictured on holiday in Dubai, despite claiming he could not afford to pay his workers because his business was in trouble.”

The spokesman said the father ran an employment agency which exploited a large number of workers dating back to 2007, with eight giving evidence during the trial.

He said: “The jury heard how many of the victims were vulnerable and living on the streets when they were taken advantage of and lured to the UK with the promise of work and good wages.

“But upon their arrival they were provided with accommodation at a property in Dover that would house up to 19 people at a time, some of whom had no choice but to sleep on the floor.

“Hot water was rare and there were no taps in the bathroom. Those living in the property also had to share a food budget of just £100 per week, which would only stretch to one basic meal per day that usually consisted of pasta or potatoes with sauce.

“The cost of accommodation was also taken out of their wages, with the living wage of one worker calculated as being less than 50p an hour.

“The men were forced to work long hours at the factory and at a hand car wash that the Makulas were also linked to, with one ex-employee saying he once worked 36 hours straight and for a month without any days off.”

Detective Inspector James Derham said: “Petr and Mario Makula made no secret of the fact that they were living the high life, posting images of themselves on social media while flaunting the proceeds of their crimes.

“What was less obvious was the harm they were causing to their workers who were forced to endure horrendous living conditions with virtually no money to spend on themselves.”

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