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North Wales builder joins fight to end modern slavery in construction

Police and Crime commissioner, North Wales (Centre) with Howard Vaughan and Mark Parry Managing Directors of Brenig. Picture Mandy Jones

A fast-growing North Wales construction company has signed up to the fight against modern slavery in the building trade.

Brenig Construction, based in Mochdre, Colwyn Bay, which has an annual turnover of £11 million and £40 million of work on its order books, is active across North Wales and into Cheshire.

The company, who are currently working with social housing provider Adra on a £1.3 million housing development at Trefnant, have joined the campaign led by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones to combat the curse of modern slavery which is a growing problem in the industry.

Mark Parry, who founded Brenig Construction with longtime friend and joint managing director Howard Vaughan, said: “The issue of modern slavery in the construction industry is one that we are becoming increasingly aware of and which we are not immune to here in North Wales.

“It is an insidious crime that enslaves and exploits vulnerable people and in an industry like ours where professionalism and safety concerns are of paramount importance it also puts them and others at risk.

“We take great care in selecting sub-contractors to ensure that they share our values and we would expect that others do the same.

“Apart from the victimisation of vulnerable people there is also the question of taking work away from properly qualified and professional tradespeople, in our case almost all of them from North Wales and the loss of livelihood to them and of money into the local economy.”

The Commissioner, a former police inspector who has made the fight against modern slavery one of his key priorities in his Police and Crime Plan, has paid a visit to a Brenig Construction site and has met with Managing Directors Mark Parry and Howard Vaughan.

He said: “I welcome the response from Brenig Construction. We need people in the construction industry to be aware of what’s happening and the fact that it is going on here in North Wales.

“I aim is to make North Wales a difficult landscape for those who peddle the misery of exploitation and slavery and to do that I need the support of firms like Brenig Construction.

“Construction is a key industry in this area, along with agriculture and hospitality which are also areas where criminals have tried to hide or disguise modern slavery and exploitation.

“The biggest misunderstanding about modern slavery is that it does not exist in somewhere as rural and beautiful as North Wales but unless they’re vigilant, well established and successful businesses can be infiltrated by modern slavery.”