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Bedlington man who enslaved homeless men must pay £275k

J. Eastman Yargio

Jun. 01, 2020

A man who plied homeless men with drugs and alcohol to make them do gruelling work has been ordered to pay back the £275,000 he made through his crimes.
Hargit Singh Bariana, 46, who operated in Blyth and Sunderland, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in June 2018 .
His victims were made to work 90-hour weeks in squalid conditions in exchange for accommodation, leftover takeaway food and alcohol.
Newcastle Crown Court ordered Bariana to repay the proceeds of his crime.
Northumbria Police said assets worth £133,000, including two houses and a large amount of cash, had been seized.
The remaining £142,000 will still have to be paid off, the force said.
Image copyright Northumbria Police Image caption Bariana's victims lived in a shared property in Blyth
A spokesman said Bariana's victims, who were all white British men, were made to clean sewage pipes by hand and work 13-hour days in bare feet.
The court previously heard they also had to work for free in his takeaway restaurant.
Bariana, of Blue House Farm, Netherton, Bedlington, took all their housing benefit as payment.
If the victims refused he would then resort to violence and intimidation, the force said.
He was found guilty of six offences of requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour relating to four men between 2010 and 2016.
Insp Billy Mulligan said: "Hargit Bariana preyed on vulnerable victims for his own gain and their consistent bravery and strength during this whole process has been inspiring.
"Hopefully his victims can find comfort knowing that Bariana is not only behind bars but has now had these assets taken off him. It should also serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can take advantage of others for their own selfish gains."
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