Three held on suspicion of

slave offences THREE people have been arrested in theMaidstone area on suspicion of forcing three men into modern slavery. Assessment is ongoing on the

three Lithuanian males, who were sent toworkinchickenfactories, to determine if they are potential vic- tims of trafficking ormodern slav- ery. The arrests were carried out by

the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), assisted by Kent Police. Fivewarrantswere executed on November 2 and two men, aged 55 and 54, and a 55-year- oldwomanwere arrested. They remain in custody and are

being questioned in connection with alleged modern slavery and unlicensed gangmaster offences. Other agencies assisting on the op- eration included the Salvation Army, Maidstone Borough Coun- cil, theWomen’s Institute and the NationalHealth Service. TheGLAAwas formedin2005 to

protect vulnerable workers in the wake of theMorecambe Bay disas- terwhen 23Chinese cockle pickers drowned on the sands.

Castle is keeping up to date with history

LEEDSCastlehasplans to shout its history more clearly as it steps to- wards its 900th birthday. The castle’s chief executive, Sir

DavidSteel, says: “We recognise that we have not been as good as we shouldin revealing the history of the castle, so we are beginning a huge programme to improve the presen- tation of the castle”. Aswell as improvements to Battel

Hall – to “ensure our commitment to maintaining ancient Kent heritage endures” - the estate is also hoping to renovate Thorpe Hall and deco- rate a number of other rooms as it looks to continually refresh its offer for the 800,000 who visit the castle each year. Other work will include upgrad-

ing estate paths and further im- provements to theWoodlandWalk gardens, ahead of the castle’s mile- stone anniversary in 2019. The estate also hopes to open an

adult changing facility, for visitors with personal restrictions, alongside general improvements including masonrymaintenance, and upgrad- ing safety features such asprotection measures against fire – one of Sir

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26 Maidstone Weald December 2017

Sir David Steel (below) is fo- cusing on plans for Leeds Cas- tle’s 900th birthday cele- brations

David’s “en- during fears”. He

said: “These are but a

fewof themajorworks that are nec- essary to ensure that we are doing our best to fulfil our charitable com- mitments.” He added: “We aim always to re-

fresh what we have available to thosewho purchase a ticket. Things do not stand still at the castle.” He continued: “Each day, I read

what visitors think of us on TripAd- visor. I ampleased the vastmajority

feel very positive towards the estate. Some are critical and we do every- thingwe can to try to put themright and remain immensely proud of the part that Leeds Castle plays in Kent.” The castle recently caused contro-

versy by converting to photo IDsea- son tickets to prevent “Facebook swapping” by local people. Themove sparked an angry back-

lash from former users who felt it was a “sledgehammer to crack a nut” and called for cheaper year- long entry for locals.

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