Slavery? It’s more like a holiday camp with ping-pong and discos: Flower pickers ‘rescued’ by police have heated caravans and return to the farm each year

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Slavery? It’s more like a holiday camp with ping-pong and discos: Flower pickers ‘rescued’ by police have heated caravans and return to the farm each year

With ping-pong tables, video room, heated caravans and free internet, this farm could almost be a holiday resort. So it’s little wonder these Eastern European daffodil pickers were shocked to see their bosses arrested in a police ‘modern slavery’ raid last week. The operation backfired as workers who had been ‘rescued’ instead asked police to let them get back to work at RH Scrimshaw and Sons in Manaccan, Cornwall. And the farm is now struggling to pay the workers because more than £10,000 in cash for wages was seized by officers. All smiles: Workers holding daffodils at the farm in Manaccan, Cornwall where they earn up to £240 a day. About 100 protested when their bosses were arrested in a ‘modern slavery’ probe Having fun: Some of the flower pickers at a party. The farm is now struggling to pay the workers because more than £10,000 in cash for wages was seized by officers Owners Allen Scrimshaw, 68, his son Wolfe, 41, were arrested on Thursday and released under investigation, along with Lithuanian fork lift driver Robertas, 49. About 200 pickers were questioned – but only 14 chose not to return to the job which can pay £240 a day. Allen, who retired ten years ago, said he spent ten hours in a cell at Camborne police station after he was handcuffed at the farm’s office. Wolfe was arrested at the home he shares with his wife and three children at about 6am. Allen said: ‘We are all very shaken up. My son is just walking around in a daydream. ‘He hasn’t eaten a thing since he was arrested. My wife is totally devastated by this. The idea that we are slavers is a complete joke.’ The Lithuanian and Romanian workers are paid 8p per bunch and either receive their money daily or leave a record of their earnings with the Scrimshaws to collect later. But as well as cash, police also seized three computers used to track how much each picker was owed. Allen said: ‘They said they thought I was laundering it, but my wife told them it wasn’t for me it was for the workers. That’s the irony – now the people police claimed to be helping can’t get paid because they’ve seized all this cash.’ About 100 workers drove to the police station to protest their bosses’ arrests. ‘More wanted to come apparently but there weren’t enough minibuses,’ Allen added. Entertainment: The common room has pool tables and the pickers can play ping-pong. Around 100 workers drove to a police station to protest their bosses’ arrests Workers can play pool in their spare time at the farm. The father and son owners were arrested last week but have been released under investigation He said the 12 men and two women who ‘elected to seek help’ had not raised any issues, adding: ‘We aren’t angels, I know, but we do try to look after them all as best we can. Up to about ten years ago […]