A Carlisle car wash employee has spoken of “slave labour”, and of his boss “whistling” at workers to make them work harder.

Three men are on trial at the city’s crown court.

Brothers Defrim Paci, 42, and 37-year-old Jetmir Paci stand accused, along with Sitar Ali, 33, of modern slavery crimes linked to Shiny, Warwick Road.

These were allegedly committed during 2016 and 2017, involving “forced labour and arranging for people to come to the UK with a view to their being exploited”.

Three Romanians have already told a jury of working long hours in return for low pay, without protective equipment and living in “very dirty” multi-occupancy city accommodation.

Evidence a fourth man gave to police in a recorded interview was played yesterday.

He spoke of Ali “whistling, swearing” at workers. Asked what he thought Ali meant by that, the man said: “His intention was to make us work harder, to wash more cars so he can make more money.”

Asked what he had been told by another male to expect of the work, he recalled: “He said ‘you’re gonna work with water, it’s gonna be cold; and if you have a zipper on your mouth you’re gonna do just fine’.”

The man spoke of being left with just £10 from his first pay packet, after deductions. And, asked to describe the working conditions for him at Shiny, he stated: “Slave labour.”

Ali, of Adelaide Street, Carlisle; Defrim Paci, of Windmill Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield; and Jetmir Paci, of Minimum Terrace, Chesterfield, deny both conspiracy to require others to perform forced or compulsory labour at Shiny in Carlisle; and conspiracy to facilitate travel with a view to exploitation. Ali further denies possessing criminal cash.

The trial continues.