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Two people have been sentenced for modern slavery offences after being found guilty by a jury.
Lyda Petraviciute, aged 42, and Laisvidas Urbaitis, aged 36, were part of an organised crime group who trafficked and exploited Lithuanian nationals to Corby between 2017 and 2019.
The Lithuanians who came over were promised a better life and the offer of work however, once they got to the UK, they would be housed in one of several multi-occupancy homes which were being sublet by Petraviciute and Urbaitis.
The victims were then placed into debt and threatened with violence, being made homeless, losing their jobs and deportation. Their wages were taken and their bank cards were also controlled and used fraudulently to gain credit against their names.
Northamptonshire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit launched an investigation into the gang and were able to uncover Petraviciute and Urbaitis as the offenders. They were arrested and charged with multiple offences and at Northampton Crown Court on October 21, 2022, were convicted by a jury.
Today (January 5) at the same court, Petraviciute - who was found guilty of one count of trafficking and two counts of compulsory labour, was sentenced to nine years in prison. Urbaitis – who was found guilty of two counts of trafficking and one count of compulsory labour, was also sentenced to nine years in prison.
Lead Investigator – Detective Sergeant Sharon Drage, said: “First of all, I would like to commend the bravery of the victims in this case for their support throughout our investigation. For too long they were controlled by this gang and I’m pleased that they are now free and can now move forward with a better life.
“Secondly, I just want to thank the Lithuanian Police and Courts for their assistance with this investigation – without their support and cooperation, this trial would not have gone ahead.
“And finally, I would like to pay tribute to Justice and Care Victim Navigators who have supported both the victims and the police during this investigation. Your work has been invaluable.”
Senior Investigating Officer and Head of Serious and Organised Crime - Detective Chief Inspector Nick Cobley, said: “Tackling serious and organised crime is a priority for this Force and that includes modern slavery, a crime in which people are terribly exploited and used for the financial gains of others.
“This investigation has been a significant investment by Northamptonshire Police, lasting over three years and really shows our commitment and intent to identify these hidden organised crime groups and stop this horrendous criminality from occurring.
“I hope the conclusion of this investigation demonstrates this commitment and I would like to reassure the public that we will continue working hard to safeguard the most vulnerable in our society and bring the offenders to justice, however difficult the task at hand.
“Finally, I want to commend the Serious and Organised Crime Team and particularly DS Drage and DC James Adkins on this investigation. Their teamwork, focus and dedication shown over a number of years has been vital in securing these sentences and ensuring justice for the victims.”