Bed firm ‘slave’ boss jailed for 27 months

Bed firm ‘slave’ boss jailed for 27 months

‘SLAVE’ boss Mohammed Rafiq was condemned by a judge as a fallen man who gambled and lost it all.

Rafiq, 60, of Thorncliffe Road, Staincliffe, used victims of human trafficking at his Kozee Sleep and Layzee Beds firms.

Workers also lived in slum conditions while making goods for contractors such as John Lewis.

Last week Rafiq was jailed for 27 months and was given a stinging rebuke by Judge Christopher Batty at Leeds Crown Court.

Rafiq agreed a deal with convicted people smuggler Janos Orsos for the supply of cheap labour.

Judge Batty said Hungarian Orsos preyed on people in his own country who were suffering due to economic woes.

He told Rafiq: “For his hideous exploitation to succeed he needed businessmen to employ his workers – and yours was one of those businesses.

“You knew that they had been trafficked into this country, you yourself intended to exploit them.

“You accepted the cheap labour that he found you regardless of how they were being treated.”

Judge Batty said the exploitation was such that victims had broken down in tears in court giving evidence. Ten people gave statements during the trial stating they had been trafficked into the UK.

They were put to work at either Kozee Sleep in Ravensthorpe or Layzee Beds in Batley.

Both firms came under parent company Hick Lane Bedding, which Rafiq was owner and managing director of.

One victim worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, while living in squalid conditions with a dozen others in a three-bedroom house.

He was given £10 a week and a tin of tobacco and often relied on friends bringing him meals.

The man said of Orsos: “This is not what he had promised us in Hungary. I felt deceived.”

Judge Batty condemned Rafiq and said: “I’m satisfied you did nothing to help, you did not care.”

And he told Rafiq he had lost whatever reputation he may once have had in a “spectacular fall from grace”.

He added in jailing Rafiq: “You gambled a great deal when you got into this agreement with Orsos.

“You were a pillar of the community. You are a fallen man who has lost it all; you must now lose your liberty.”

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