A group of Romanian nationals have appeared in court accused of posing as agency workers to exploit ten people who were trafficked to Perthshire.
Court documents allege people were forced to work more than 14 hours per day harvesting crops, sometimes only for a few pounds per week.
Carmen Neacsu and Stelian Neacsu, both 53, along with Gabriel Dogeanu, 39 and Petrica Obreja, 37, are accused of running the human trafficking ring in Blairgowrie.
None of the four accused made any plea in connection with the allegations at Dundee Sheriff Court on Monday.
Took control of ID documents
It is alleged Stelian Neacsu, Dogeanu and Obreja allegedly acted as gangmasters in order to supply workers from their home country.
Prosecutors allege that the offences were committed between January 1 2019 and April 30 this year on Jessie Street, Altamount Park, Leslie Street and Coralbank Crescent, all Blairgowrie, and elsewhere.
Both Neacsus, Dogeanu and Obreja allegedly lied about working for a recruitment agency, deliberately incorrectly translated from English to Romanian.
They are said to have taken control of the ten peoples’ identification documents and passports and induced them to pay money in exchange for employment and accommodation.
On some occasions, they were allegedly not paid wages, had money withheld from them and were only paid a few pounds per week.
‘Children would disappear’
All four accused are said to have behaved in an intimidating manner and repeatedly made threats to the ten people, saying they and their children would disappear if they did not sign paperwork.
They allegedly falsified documents and drove to various locations where the ten people worked in excess of 14 hours per day harvesting crops, with the intention of them being exploited.
A separate charge alleges all four facilitated the transfer of workers from Romania to the UK, pretended to take them to London, arranged substandard accommodation, charged them extortionate fees for travel, utilities and cleaning and secured control of their finances, causing them to suffer financial hardship.
Neascu, Neascu and Dogeanu, all of Coralbank Crescent and Obreja, of Altamount Chalets, Coupar Angus Road, Blairgowrie, appeared on petition before Sheriff George Way.
All four were remanded in custody after the case was continued for further examination.
They are expected to make a second court appearance next week.