A landlord who was found to have enslaved his tenants, forced them to work in his takeaways and fed them leftovers rather than pay them has been convicted of modern slavery offences.

The BBC reports that while Hargit Bariana claimed he was helping the homeless, Newcastle Crown Court heard his victims worked in grim conditions and were beaten or threatened if they did not comply. Bariana was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison.

His offences occurred between 2010 and 2016, during which time Bariana was found to have forced four vulnerable men to work for free in his Blyth takeaway, while they were living in a multiple-occupancy house that he owned.

The court heard that while the victims were given drink and drugs and fed leftovers, they received no payment.

Judge Sarah Mallett told Bariana: “This was, in my view, commercial exploitation.

“Your business model was largely predicated on free labour and the most minimal expenditure into your business to extract the maximum profit.”

This post was originally featured on Recruiter.