THREE people have been arrested on suspicion of slavery offences, after 120 police officers raided an illegal encampment in Hampshire.

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Force Support Unit were joined by local officers and CID teams, Dog Units and Scientific Services at 5.30am this morning.

The swooped on an encampment Ensign Way, Hamble, searching caravans and vehicles as they executed a number of warrants.

Three people were arrested on suspicion of offences under Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and were taken to local police stations where they are currently being questioned.

They are a 26 year old man from Oxfordshire, a 19 year old man from Wiltshire and a 52 year old woman from Oxfordshire.

A fourth person, a 25 year old man from Bedfordshire, was also arrested for Public Order offences.

Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 creates an offence holding someone in slavery or servitude, or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Responding to the operation, DCI Kath Barnes said: “Hampshire Constabulary will not tolerate those who choose to lead criminal lifestyles and we will always deal robustly with offenders.

"We would encourage all members of the public to report any suspicious conduct or behaviour to police at all times as this enables us to assess and act upon that information according to its importance.”