“Binning’s role was pivotal to the group"
Landlord Kashmir Singh Binning, aged 40, of Tipton, West Midlands, has received a court order after he turned a blind eye to the suffering of ‘slaves’ being housed in his properties.
He leased three properties in Birmingham to a Polish gang that forced up to 400 vulnerable people to work.
The victims were housed in poor conditions in properties across the West Midlands, fed out-of-date food and forced to scavenge for dumped mattresses to sleep on.
In some properties, there were no working toilets, heating, furniture or hot water. Some victims recalled being told to wash in canals.
The properties were located in Victoria Road, James Turner Street and Queens Head Road.
On August 22, 2016, detectives investigating the trafficking ring told Binning that his properties were being used to house slavery victims.
However, he continued to rent out properties to the gang and made £135 a week from the suspects for each address.
Binning’s phone records were later analysed and they revealed messages between him and the traffickers, including Ignacy Brzezinski who played a lead role and whom he considered a friend.
His Queen’s Head Road property was mostly destroyed by a fire on December 12, 2015.
Two tenants were hospitalised and a fire safety report revealed the house had no smoke detectors or fire doors.
It also revealed that it was home to several Polish nationals, despite tenancy documents showing it was leased to one person with no scope for sub-letting.
Binning did not co-operate with the council’s enquiry and also failed to act on anti-social behaviour concerns at his properties.
When inspectors found widespread mould and dampness at Victoria Road, Binning also failed to carry out remedial work.
Evidence revealed that Binning was aware that his properties were being used to house slavery victims. He chose to make money from their suffering rather than reporting it.
A collaboration between West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and Sandwell Council led to an application for a Slavery & Trafficking Risk Order being made against him.
It was revealed that Binning also owned three properties in Sandwell where victims were housed.
On February 28, 2020, the landmark order was granted.
It runs until 2025 and binds the landlord by various conditions, including that he cannot accept cash payments from tenants, agree to property inspections every three months and must provide the local authority with signed tenancy agreements with occupants’ details.
Binning, who owns six properties, plus seven more registered to family members, faces jail if he ignores the order.
In July 2019, eight members of the trafficking gang were jailed for a combined total of 55 years.
Detective Sergeant Mike Wright said:
“Binning’s role was pivotal to the group being able to house victims easily, quickly and at affordable cost.
“He was friends with some of the suspects and willing to turn a blind eye.”
“He claimed he had no idea people housed in his properties were being exploited… but all the evidence suggested otherwise.
“This order shows how seriously we and the courts take the safeguarding of vulnerable people; the judge was very supportive and told Binning he was lucky the order didn’t ban him from letting properties at all.
“Modern slavery is seen as a crime hidden in plain sight. However, offenders rely on individuals and organisations to overlook the degrading and inhumane treatment of human beings.
“Most private landlords are responsible and keep properties safe and free from health hazards.
“I hope this order shows we will not allow landlords to put their tenants at risk and facilitate slavery offences.”
Binning was also ordered to pay £14,000 in court costs.