Magistrates have imposed a five-year Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order (STRO) on a man after concerns were raised about working practices at a car wash he was running in Peterborough.

Elsayed Habaka, 36, was running the hand car wash in Cobden Avenue when a member of the public called the Modern Slavery Helpline to raise concerns for the welfare of the workers.

Police officers and partner agencies visited the site to investigate and speak to Habaka about how the car wash was operating.

The investigation found evidence he was employing underage people and those who did not have the right to work in the UK.

As a result, officers applied for the STRO, which was granted by Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on February 1.

It means there are strict regulations on who Habaka, of Clarence Road, Peterborough, can employ, as well as the equipment and training they are given and wages paid. It also prevents him from paying for transport for workers to and from the UK.

Failure to comply with a STRO constitutes a criminal offence punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.

Detective sergeant Chris Acourt said: “Thank you to the member of the public who called the Modern Slavery Helpline to raise concerns about the staff at this car wash.

“The information enabled us to conduct an investigation and successfully apply for this court order, meaning strict conditions have been imposed on Habaka to ensure the welfare of anyone who works for him.

“Information from the public is vital in helping us to combat modern slavery in the county. I’d encourage everyone to spend a few minutes making sure they know the signs to look out for and then report any concerns directly to us or the Modern Slavery Helpline.”

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said car washes have been identified nationally as an industry vulnerable to modern slavery, and its officers regularly visit hand car wash sites across the county in an effort to uncover any exploitation and ensure workers are being treated appropriately.