Police raids uncover illegal immigrants suspected to be victims of labour exploitation in Barnstaple.

Two Barnstaple people have been arrested following a warrant for suspected modern slavery offences.

Officers executed the warrant under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 at an address in Newport Road on Monday.

The UK Immigration Service and other partners also attended.

This led officers to attend a business premises in the town centre.

A 26-year-old woman, from Barnstaple, was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and money laundering, and released on bail until June 27 pending further enquiries.

A 33-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally and is being dealt with by the UK Immigration Service.

The warrants follow a visit to a business premises in the town centre on Tuesday 5 April by the UK Immigration Service and local officers, where two illegal immigrants working on the premises were found.

They are suspected as being victims of labour exploitation. The suspected victims are now being cared for by Devon Social Services.

Detective Sergeant Heather Smith, from the local investigation team, said: “The investigation is still in its early stages but the arrests today are a positive result.

“Modern slavery and human trafficking are happening in North Devon and anyone responsible for exploiting people will be dealt with.

“We would encourage anyone who is concerned about a family member, friend or colleague who may be a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking to get in touch.”

Anyone with information that could assist with this investigation is asked to email 101@dc.police.uk or call 101.

Information can also be passed anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers, by calling 0800 555 111 or reporting online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

For more information about modern slavery visit https://modernslavery.co.uk/