A MAN was forced to work as a slave and sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, a court has heard.

Rita Jablonskaite, 34, and Robertas Repsas, 31, both of Westland Drive, Padgate, are standing trial in Liverpool Crown Court on modern slavery offences after the 50-year-old Lithuanian national they 'exploited' reported their behaviour.

They both deny the charges.

When he left, Jablonskaite allegedly arranged for a woman to be transported to replace him.

Nicola Daley told the jury on Wednesday that the defendants helped in arranging for Igor Jeriomcenkov to travel to the UK in June 2017.

Ms Daley, prosecuting, said: "He said that he’d been homeless in Lithuania and had been approached by a gipsy who asked him he had a passport and whether he would like to go to England.

"He said that he agreed to come to England on the understanding that he would be paid £100 up front and would be provided with accommodation, food and cigarettes in exchange for him cleaning the house.

"He indicated that once he’d got to the UK he was told by Jablonskaite that if he was able to find a job he would get £50 a week."

Warrington Guardian:

The pair outside court on Wednesday

The court heard how Jablonskaite assisted Igor in finding employment but that the defendants controlled his finances by opening bank accounts in his name, and decided how much money he received from his wages and how he was required to assist around the house.

The prosecution say that Jablonskaite and Repsas were exploiting Igor’s vulnerabilities because he had nowhere else to live and was wholly dependent upon them.

They were controlling his finances and his day-to-day activities to such a degree that by the beginning of March he called the Embassy.

Both Jablonskaite and Repsas deny these claims, instead saying that Jablonskaite had simply come across Igor in Warrington and had taken pity on him as he was a fellow Lithuanian.

The pair state they helped him find a job, open bank accounts and collected money from these accounts for him as he was not comfortable using a cash machine.

Jablonskaite also stands accused of arranging the transportation of a Lithuanian lady, Vida Aceviciene, 51, who was found by police at the defendant's address.

The trial continues.