Order imposed on Suffolk teenager over slavery and trafficking concerns

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street

A Newmarket man has been handed a Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A teenager from Newmarket has become what is thought to be the first person in Suffolk to be handed a Slavery & Trafficking Risk Order (STRO).

Vinnie Whittred, of Willow Crescent, appeared before Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, April 13 where he was given the order that is imposed for three years.

A STRO is a civil order that can be applied for to restrict the activities of an unconvicted person where there is a risk that they will commit a trafficking offence.

The court must be satisfied that it is necessary to make the order for the purpose of protecting named or potential individuals from physical or psychological harm if the offence was committed.

A breach of the full order carries the punishment with up to five years in jail.

Police officers from Suffolk police's Serious Crime Disruption Team applied for the order in February due to ongoing and repeated concerns Whittred, 18, was exploiting a 15 year old from Newmarket for the purpose of selling Class A drugs.

The order contains condition for him to abide by, which include no contact with the victim and preventative measures to safeguard other potential victims – such as not supplying anyone under 18 with a phone or arranging travel or residing with someone under 18.

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Whittred is also not allowed to possess more than one mobile phone and SIM card.

He is also required to permit a police officer access to a premises where he is residing for the purpose of an inspection.

DC Janet Harris, of Suffolk police, said: "To have secured this order is a significant step forward in tackling the impact class A drug dealing has on those who are being exploited because of  their vulnerability.”

"We are committed to protecting children and young people to the dangers of not just drug abuse, but also the hazards of becoming embroiled in gang culture and knife crime that frequently have links to drug dealing.

"To have secured this order is a great achievement, but is just one tool to protect young vulnerable people – we  also conduct engagement visits to schools and is part of a joined up and holistic approach with other agencies who can also contribute to educating our children."