A worker has claimed he was treated like a “slave” at a Perthshire puppy farm before he was eventually rescued by police.
The European immigrant said he was lured into Scotland and put to work amongst horrific conditions at the ramshackle property near Glenalmond for more than a year.
He was only liberated when police and Scottish SPCA officers stormed the site in November, after a tip-off from a whistle-blower.
Now, one worker has revealed how he was forced to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week with no pay.
The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I was a slave. I was exhausted all the time. I was depressed and I was treated like I was worthless. And I was scared.”
He said he was left penniless and felt he had no choice but to stay at the farm and be exploited.
“I felt trapped and wanted to get away, but if the owner threw me out I knew I had nothing and nowhere to go. I was scared of staying and scared of leaving,” the man told the Daily Record.
The man alleged he was tricked into coming to Scotland by an associate of the farm’s operator.
He said he was hired to work as security officer in shops and music festivals in London, but only got paid for the retail work.
‘I had no idea what I was getting in to’
When he fell behind with his rent and threatened with eviction, he was offered a job at the farm in Perthshire.
“I was about to be homeless and the job seemed like a good opportunity,” he said. “I had no idea what I was getting in to.”
He arrived at the farm in August 2019 when he said conditions were acceptable. But after a welcoming start, he said one of the people in charge became aggressive. “By then I was trapped,” he said.
Over the year, about 20 workers came and went from the farm, including some who only stayed for a day.
“They couldn’t stand the conditions and the bullying,” the man said. “Eventually, it was just me left on my own.”
His relentless schedule began at 6am, and he worked until 10pm every day.
“About 15 dogs were crammed into a run meant for nothing like that number,” he said.
He claimed that his living conditions and food were basic, and he would sometimes get clothes bought for him from the site’s operators.
Police and the Scottish SPCA raided the farm after a whistle-blower responded to an online advert for an “in-house dog and cat carer and cleaner,” offering £1,000 a month to live on site.
She raised the alarm after visiting the site and seeing the horrific conditions the animals were being kept in.
After his rescue, the man has been moved to a new area and is rebuilding his life with the help of trafficking support services.
“All I wanted to do was get out of there, but I didn’t know how,” the man said. “I was relived when the police found me and helped me leave.”
Police Scotland confirmed a report had been passed to the Procurator Fiscal.