THREE men were found living in appalling and squalid conditions during a modern slavery operation.

As part of a joint investigation concerning modern slavery offences a pre-planned multi-agency operation led by North Wales Police took place on Monday morning at two locations in Dock Road, Connah's Quay.

North Wales Police - supported by partners from the local authority, BAWSO, social services, Victim Support and the British Red Cross - entered and searched two business premises following complaints and concerns about the living and working conditions of individuals.

Insp Andy Griffiths at Deeside Police Station, who led the operation, said: “As a result of concerns from members of the public, partners and Intelligence gathered, warrants were executed this morning in order to identify any potential victims, safeguard them and investigate any suspects.

"Due to the living conditions the local authority have closed down and placed a prohibition notice on a caravan.

"Three eastern European men, aged in their thirties, were found living in appalling and squalid conditions in a small caravan are now being assisted to relocate elsewhere.

"Specially trained police officers and partners will speak with them all to ascertain the full circumstances but at this stage no one has been arrested.”

The operation is part of North Wales Police Operation Scorpion, the force’s continued fight against serious and organised crime in the region and specifically human exploitation which is led by the force’s Modern Slavery Unit.

A spokesman for the force said human trafficking exists in North Wales and forced labour is very often over-looked in terms of modern slavery but experience shows it is one of the most prevalent aspects of slavery and it needs eradicating.

Insp Griffiths added: “I want communities to know that North Wales Police and all our partners take the plague of modern slavery very seriously and will professionally and robustly safeguard all victims, regardless of their origin, and vigorously pursue those responsible for perpetrating these vile acts.

"Tackling modern slavery is one of our top five priorities but we can’t do this alone and we need our communities to be our eyes and ears.

"There are many signs and forms of modern slavery and I’d encourage the public to familiarise themselves by visiting our website and if you suspect someone is a victim then please let us know immediately as you could be saving a life.”

If you suspect slavery is happening near you please report it to police on 101, anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 012 1700 or BAWSO on 08007318147.