THE owner of a garage in Bournemouth has said he was close to giving up after being put through “hell” over unfounded allegations that he used slave labour.
As reported in the Daily Echo, Dorset Police, working with organisations including the National Crime Agency, Red Cross and Bournemouth Borough Council, swooped on the AA Clock Garage in Ringwood Road on March 26.
The garage was sealed off before being searched inside and out as part of the human trafficking operation and police said at the time that six suspected male victims, aged 20-30, were taken to a place of safety.
A 23-year-old man, now known to be garage owner Aram Akrami, was arrested in connection with slavery offences before being released on bail.
Now he has been told that no further action will be taken against him because of insufficient evidence.
Aram, who has run the garage since late 2012, told the Echo: “They had some information from someone and the police came.
“They thought there was money laundering and slavery going on here. They raided us and the police took me for an interview for six hours and arrested me.
“They took all of the workers and interviewed them about whether they had been forced to work or were not getting paid.
“The next day we were open and back to normal and we have such great repeat customers; they believed there was nothing going on and they have given their support, it gives me a lot of encouragement.
“I would like to thank them, I really appreciate that.”
Aram added: “We have been through hell. They (the police) wasted a lot of money and time.
“The police took all of my computers and laptops and all the facilities and we couldn’t work. The police got it wrong and we lost business and gained a bad reputation. I’ll ask for an apology from the police.”