A FORMER flower picker at Bosahan Farm has accused the media and police of 'sticking the knife in' after three men were arrested on suspicion that modern slavery was taking place.

Specialist officers executed a warrant at Bosahan Farm, a flower picking farm near Manaccan, on Thursday morning on the suspicion that modern slavery offences were taking place against migrant workers. 

Three men were arrested. A 61-year-old man and a 41-year-old were arrested on suspicion of Modern Slavery offences while a 49-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being an unlicensed gangmaster. All three men are local to Helston. Two remain in police custody while one has been released under investigation.

Last night around 100 migrant, mainly Lithuanian and Romanian, workers protested against the arrests outside Camborne Police Station.

Posting on Facebook former employee Chris Hosken said: "The most upsetting thing is the amount of smearing that has gone on today the BBC , The Police and so many people who are just ready to stick the knife in at any opportunity, I don't think I have ever seen such piety."

He said he had worked at the farm for around ten years, starting when all the pickers were local people or travellers.

"I was there at the start of of the need to employ migrant labour, the first few were if I remember correctly Ukrainian with little or no English spoken, we however managed to convey to them what was required and they seemed happy with their lot.

In the ensuing years it became clear that the only option was more labour from abroad as the local pickers had drifted away from flower picking. For me as a contractor bringing the flowers in to the packing shed I found this time to be the most interesting time at the farm."

He said the farm provided accomodation fo the workers in the form of ex-holiday park mobile homes, computers for communication to allow the pickers to keep in contact with their homes as well as TVs laundry facilities etc.

"Many of the pickers have been working on the same farm for many many years if its so bad why do they come year in year out," he said. "One of the most enjoyable moments while in the fields was when the owners would turn up on some very wet and windy days with over 200 pasties, the pickers would leave their flowers have a pasty then carry on, one picker who I was eating a pasty with said 'why he do this?'. My reply was he appreciates your work which as a part of the team was much appreciated.

"Many of these people have become friends some have moved to different counties we are still in touch I taught some of them to drive a tractor I taught them some English albeit with a very Cornish accent. What a great time working there not easy but rewarding."

In statement Cornwall Council said it had provided support to 14 people overnight – 12 males and 2 females.

"Eleven workers are expected to take up other employment today and we will provide ongoing assistance to three people until Saturday.

"The council is now winding down its support having listened to people’s concerns and ensured people's ongoing safety and wellbeing. Due to this being part of an active police investigation, we are unable to further discuss this matter in greater depth."