A farm worker, 40, who was feared to have been murdered five years ago has been found alive living in Cambridgeshire woods, it was revealed today.
Ricardas Puisys, who is from Lithuania, made what police described as a ‘very well concealed’ home for himself in deep undergrowth off a residential street in Wisbech.
The 40-year-old had gone missing in September 2015 from his work at a leek farm 20 miles away in Chatteris with detectives fearing he had been murdered.
Concerns for his safety had been raised the previous month when it was suggested he was being exploited, and a murder investigation was launched in November 2015.
A 31-year-old man from Wisbech was arrested in December 2015 on suspicion of murder and taken into custody, but later released with no further action.
Ricardas Puisys, 40, was discovered by police last month after going missing five years ago
A tent in the woodland where Mr Puisys was found alive after being missing for five years. The 40-year-old had gone missing in September 2015 from his work at a leek farm
Two areas of woods have been regularly used by Eastern Europeans living in in an array of tents and makeshift shelters in recent years.
It is believed other men sleeping living rough in the two areas either did not know of his existence or were seemingly unaware that he was supposed to be dead.
Residents of the street today spoke of their anger about rough sleepers and gangs of street drinkers congregating in the woods and causing a nuisance.
One group who had lived in woodland owned by the National Trust were successfully evicted last year, leaving behind piles of of debris which had to be cleaned up by council workers.
Concerns for him had first been raised in August 2015 when a local resident told police they suspected he was being exploited and was being forced to move between addresses within Wisbech.
Police spoke to Mr Puisys at his home but he told them he was fine.
He was known to have left work at the Nightlayer Leek Company in Chatteris on September 26, 2015 and then joined a group of Lithuanian men in the evening.
The alarm was raised when he failed to turn up for a shift two days later and his identification badge was found in a park.
Cambridgeshire Police finally discovered Mr Puisys living in the woods off Harecroft Road on July 1, but delayed announcing that he had been found until today so they could ensure he was in a place of safety.
They announced today that they believe he had effectively been a victim of ‘modern slavery’.
He was found by police in a location in woods nearby a cluster of houses in Wisbech (above)
Keith Dorman, 59, who lives in Harecroft Road said he had battled to get one group of campers evicted last year from the National Trust woods opposite his bungalow.
He said: ‘It was awful when they were here and it took almost a whole year to get them kicked off. They were defecating in the woods and leaving all their rubbish piled up.
‘Mothers used to walk through the woods with their children, but these guys would be exposing themselves and urinating. It was very unpleasant.
‘They were living in tents and shelters, and chopping down the trees for firewood and building materials. They were p***ed most of the time.
‘It started off as one or two of them, but the numbers grew. At one stage there was a dozen of them sitting around drinking together. It was like a party.’
Mr Puisys had gone missing in September 2015 from his work at a food production company
Evidence of a camping area in one of the two areas of woodland in Wisbech, which are both known to have been used by rough sleepers and street drinkers
He added: ‘I followed one guy who was staggering to a local shop to buy booze and he fell over three times on the way.
‘I told the shopkeeper that he should not be serving someone in that state and he replied that he would be threatened if he refused to sell them alcohol.’
‘I got in touch with the police first, but they said they couldn’t do anything because they were not committing an offence.
‘Then I got in touch with Fenland Council and a local councillor, but they could not do much because the land was owned by the National Trust.
‘The councillor told me they were all in work, but I said that was irrelevant. He also said that they had been offered alternative accommodation, but didn’t want it as they were happy living rent free.’
A photograph of a much younger Mr Puisys issued by Cambridgeshire Police around the time of his disappearance in 2015
Mr Dorman also said he phoned the National Trust ‘four or five times’ and was initially told it would be ‘too expensive to do anything about’ but carried on pursuing them, before ‘getting through to someone in authority’ who told him they were in the process of getting a court order.
‘Finally the police arrived mob handed and they were all booted off. Three vans from Fenland Council turned up the next day and they sent over a day cleaning up all the mess.
‘There were old beds, sleeping bags, empty food containers, bottles and cans and all kinds of rubbish.’
Mr Dorman said he had seen men living rough in the second area of woods in the road, and even sleeping under a tarpaulin stretched over a ditch on the side of the road.
He said: ‘It is common to see these sights in Wisbech. There is hardly any area of woods or common land in the town were people have not been rough sleeping.
‘Others have tried to return to the woods since the eviction last year. I found one guy there and I made it plain to him that he had to leave, and he went off somewhere else.’
Another resident who asked not to be named added: ‘It was a real problem last year. People living in the woods were causing a nuisance, particularly with the stench from their camp fires.
‘They were all working because I was told that they would be picked up vans each day and taken to jobs. But they preferred living rough so they did not have to pay rent and had more money to spend on drink.’
A general view of Harecroft Road in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. Mr Puisys was discovered by police in a ‘very well concealed’ location in woods nearby a cluster of houses
Mr Puisys worked at Nightlayer Leek Company in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, on September 26, 2015 and this was the last confirmed and corroborated sighting of him alive and well
A general view of Harecroft Road in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. Officers said they decided not to publicly announce that had found him alive until today to protect him
At the time he went missing, Mr Puisys did not have a car or close family in the UK and spoke little English.
He was still presumed dead in August 2018 when a Facebook profile was found with his name, picture and 69 friends, all of whom were his friends and relatives.
Investigations found a phone number linked to the account but detectives could not trace the owner, and police discovered the page was being managed from Wisbech.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Hall said today: ‘For almost five years Ricardas’ disappearance has been a complete mystery. That was until we received information at the end of June which led us to finding him.
Mr Hall said there had been ‘genuine concerns’ that he had come to harm on the evening he was last seen.
A general view of Harecroft Road in Wisbech. Keith Dorman, 59, who lives on the road said he had battled to get one group of campers evicted last year from the National Trust woods
Wisbech in Cambridgeshire. Concerns for Mr Puisys had first been raised in August 2015 when a local resident told police they suspected he was being exploited
Harecroft Road in Wisbech. Police said an investigation into potential exploitation had been launched and a team of detectives were now working their way through various inquiries
Mr Hall went on: ‘He did not return to work on September 28, 2015 as expected, but we now believe Ricardas made the decision to run away as he had been a victim of crime, having previously been subject to exploitation.
‘A team of investigators worked tirelessly following up a number of inquiries, none leading to the discovery of Ricardas. That was until we received information that Ricardas may have been alive and still in the Wisbech area.
‘Following a search of wooded area in Harecroft Road, Ricardas was eventually found living in undergrowth, very well concealed after having deliberately hidden and having not spoken with anyone for some time.’
Officers said they decided not to publicly announce that had found him alive until today to protect him and put safeguarding measures in place.
Mr Hall added: ‘He is safe and we are working very closely with him to ensure he remains safe, but also to ensure he gets the support he needs after having lived through extremely difficult circumstances during the last five or more years.’
Police said an investigation into potential exploitation had been launched and a team of detectives were now working their way through various inquiries.
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One of the most northerly bars in the world in Svalbard is up for sale
When it is dark for more than 100 days in the depths of the bone-chilling Arctic winter, even the polar bears want to get into the Svalbar – one of the most northerly pubs in the world.
Located in a former mining town on Svalbard, just 650 miles from the North Pole, this unique bar and restaurant has been feeding and watering Arctic and wilderness explorers for over a decade.
With winter temperatures locked at minus 18 degrees Celsius for weeks on end, the pub has a captive audience among the 3,000 permanent residents and 70,000 tourists who visit Svalbard, the Arctic island archipelago set among the roaring seas between Norway and the top of the world. And now the bar is up for sale – and it’s expected to sell for a cool one million euros (£900,000).
The Svalbar, pictured, is one of the most northerly pubs in the world – and now it’s up for sale
‘You must like excitement and have a good portion of adventurous spirit to run a bar on Svalbard,’ owner John-Einar Lockert said
The new owner will need to keep customers’ spirits up – human and bear – while the Northern Lights swirl through the long winter nights, and refresh them after snowmobile safaris during the 24-hour summer days.
‘You must like excitement and have a good portion of adventurous spirit to run a bar on Svalbard,’ owner John-Einar Lockert explained.
‘It is an exciting place to run a bar and we have a flourishing night-life and culture scene.’
Despite being located in the centre of the archipelago’s main town of Longyearbyen, the bar is on a route regularly patrolled by some of the 3,000 polar bears who call the Arctic islands home.
Other less dangerous wildlife within a short snowmobile ride away include reindeer herds, arctic foxes, sea birds, arctic geese and walruses. And the islands’ fjords are packed with whales.
Despite being located in the centre of the archipelago’s main town of Longyearbyen, Svalbar is on a route regularly patrolled by some of the 3,000 polar bears who call the Arctic islands home
Longyearbyen is one of the most northern settlements on the planet and temperatures here sit at -18C for weeks on end
Husky dog-sleigh safaris are also popular.
The Northern Lights – an atmospheric phenomenon of swirling colours – grace the clear Arctic skies from October to February.
‘The polar bear came to the bar last year, during the night,’ John-Einar explained. ‘He walked past the bar and looked in the window.
‘It was a cold night and he was probably looking for a warm place to have something to eat. He could smell the food.
‘It was lucky that we were closed.’
He joked: ‘Everyone is welcome in the bar, but the polar bears must stay outside.’
John-Einar said that a polar bear looked in through the window of the pub last year
‘Everyone is welcome in the bar, but the polar bears must stay outside,’ quipped John-Einar
Comfort food: A Svalbar burger and chips dish
While part of the Kingdom of Norway, Svalbard has its own government and has tax-free status.
John-Einar added: ‘The Svalbar is the local watering hole for many of the permanent residents and it’s also quite popular amongst the tourists.
‘I am guessing it is because we have both the pub and an eatery.
‘And because there are no taxes on Svalbard a glass of beer costs 50 Norwegian Kroner [£4.25] about a third of the price of a bar in Oslo [Norway’s capital].’
Longyearbyen enjoys all the modern conveniences of any Norwegian city, but residents need special skills to live at the latitude of 73 degrees north.
John-Einar explained: ‘There are some skills you must learn if you live on Svalbard.
‘You must know how to shoot a gun to protect yourself from polar bears.
‘It is winter from November to May or June and you need to know how to ride a snowmobile. It is the only way to get around in the snow.
‘It is an exciting place to live and work in, with a unique community and wonderful nature.’
Europe’s most northerly landmass, the Svalbard archipelago, was probably first discovered by Viking explorers but was not settled until the 17th century when it was used as a staging post by whalers who plundered the rich oceans for the valuable sea mammals.
Huge coal deposits were discovered at the end of the 19th century and in the 20th century British, American, Norwegian and Russian mining operations excavated the precious mineral for decades.
Now the islands’ main revenue is Arctic adventure tourism, with more than 70,000 visitors last year .
John-Einar explained: ‘Svalbard is a wonderful place.
John-Einar is pictured here with his son in front of a herd of walruses. John-Einar describes Svalbard as a ‘wonderful place’
‘I moved there as a kid because my parents got work there and I went with them.
‘I went back to the mainland [of Norway] to study but returned and started up the Svalbar in 2007.
‘Longyearbyen is a lovely place to live. The people are very open-minded, out-going and friendly. It’s really easy to meet people.
‘It is dark for three months of the year, December, January and February, but there are lots of cultural events to keep people’s spirits up.
‘I am leaving the bar, it is time for me to do something else, but I could never leave Svalbard, it is my home.’
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Moment angry taxi driver speeds away throwing his passenger to the ground as he climbed out of cab
This is the shocking moment an angry taxi driver threw his passenger to the ground by speeding away as he climbed out of the cab after a row over face masks.
Jay Henry, who lives in Hackney, east London, had ordered a Bolt taxi to drive him to his mother’s house in Stanford Hill, north London, at around 11am on September 4.
But the 36-year-old, who works as a painter and decorator, claims he was left unable to work for weeks after suffering an injured back and foot as a result of the impact.
In the CCTV footage, the blue Toyota Pruis can be seen cruising down a residential road before swerving toward the pavement and coming to an abrupt stop.
The passenger in the back seat begins to open his door as the driver appears to turn around and speak to him.
Mr Henry continues to clamber out and places just one foot on the ground before suddenly the driver of the car speeds away.
He falls to the floor before looking over his shoulder in exasperation.
He manages to get back to his feet and walks steadily down the street in the same direction that the car drove off in.
Mr Henry then takes a moment to compose himself and rearranges his satchel before making a call.
Jay Henry, who lives in Hackney, east London, had ordered a Bolt taxi to drive him to his mother’s house at around 11am on September 4 when the dispute occurred
Mr Henry said that the the driver had become upset when he arrived because he had forgotten his face mask and had to run back inside to collect it.
He claims that after setting off the driver became more erratic, dangerously overtaking a learner driver and jumping red lights.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed they are investigating an allegation of assault against the cab driver who was working for the Bolt ride-hailing app at the time.
Speaking after the incident, Mr Henry said: ‘I ordered a cab, but I forgot my mask and had to go back upstairs to get it. I ran back down, put it on and he [the driver] started saying “you think I’m your slave”.
‘I said “just drive, I’ve got my mask now, let’s go”. Then he said “you think you’re my boss”.
Mr Henry continues to clamber out and places just one foot on the ground before suddenly the driver of the car speeds away
The 36-year-old, who works as a painter and decorator, claims he was left unable to work for weeks after suffering an injured back and foot as a result of the impact
‘I said “please just drive the car, we’re going to be late, I didn’t say anything like that”.
‘When he started driving he was going like an absolute madman, he jumped two red lights. He overtook a learner doing a test or a lesson. The way he overtook them was ridiculous.
‘I said to him “you don’t like your job, maybe get a new one”. And I said “maybe clean your car, you might feel better”. This Bolt was filthy.’
He added: ‘I opened the door to get out and I heard him mumble the word “slave” again. As I opened the door to climb out, I had one foot half out and he sped off with me hanging out the car.
‘The door was still open as he flew off, I fell heavily on my back and my foot bent under me. My trainer ripped in half from falling to the floor.
‘My back is still playing up, my big toe is still bad. I’ve not been back to work since because it hurts too much.
‘I should have gone to hospital at the time but I didn’t think I should, I didn’t want to waste their time, and because of coronavirus.’
Scotland Yard said officers are investigating an allegation of assault and that so far no arrests have been made.
A spokesman for the police said: ‘An allegation of assault was reported to police shortly after 11.00am on Friday, September 4.
‘It was reported that a man was injured after he was dragged along the ground a short distance, when a private hire vehicle he had been travelling in, drove away as he was exiting the vehicle in Lockhurst Street, E5.
‘There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.’
Bolt have been contacted for a comment.
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Vile sex attacker, 32, who violently raped an 80-year-old woman is jailed for eight years
A vile sex attacker who violently raped an 80-year-old woman in her own home has been locked up for eight years.
John Laming struck last Christmas Eve just 12 days after he had been freed from jail. The terrified victim yelled for help, but when no one heard, Laming taunted her: ‘Some neighbours you have got.’
The 32-year-old then sat swigging a can of juice after the attack and claimed the OAP was ‘strong like his granny’.
He was today sentenced having earlier pled guilty to a charge of assault and rape.
John Laming was today sentenced having earlier pled guilty to a charge of assault and rape
Lady Stacey said she had decided against imposing an Order for Lifelong Restriction.
But, she told Laming: ‘What you did was a terrible crime. You should be completely ashamed.
‘It must have been extremely frightening for the woman involved. She was in her own home minding her own business.’
The former heating engineer will also be supervised for a further four years on his release.
The High Court in Glasgow heard how Laming already had a criminal past including a four year prison term for robbery in 2015.
Prosecutor Kath Harper said he was released from jail last December 12.
The victim was in bed when she was awoken by smashing glass around midnight on Christmas Eve.
She got up and was confronted by Laming, who lived in Rutherglen, but was not known to her.
The OAP ordered him out before bravely tackling him.
Laming fled from the scene, but was soon snared for the crime in Rutherglen, near Glasgow (pictured)
Miss Harper: ‘She reached for a metal pole used to open her window. She tried to hit him with it.’
The woman also pressed her panic alarm, but it failed to work.
The prosecutor: ‘She was also screaming. Laming said ‘some neighbours you have got’ when no one heard.’
The victim ended up on her bed with Laming leaning over her.
She pleaded: ‘What are you doing this to an 80 year-old lady for?’
Laming branded her a ‘w***e’ before going on to rape her in the dining room.
After the attack, Laming helped the terrified woman onto a chair and told her to make a cup of tea.
Miss Harper: ‘He said she was ‘strong like his granny’. He asked if she had any alcohol.
‘The woman told him she did not, but there was some juice.
‘He took a can and told her she had a much nicer house than him.’
Laming left after clearing up broken glass – but returned to ask for his vape e-cigarette which he had dropped.
The victim called her daughter to say a man had ‘kicked her door in’.
Police also arrived before the distressed pensioner was taken to hospital.
As she was being examined, she burst into tears and told a medic: ‘I fought back.’
Her injuries included ‘multiple’ bruises on her neck and body.
Laming was snared near the house he shared with his mum late on Christmas Eve hiding in a garden.
His lawyer Ann Ogg said: ‘He did not think he was capable of such behaviour.’
Laming was also placed on the sex offenders list.
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