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The owner and managing director of Hick Lane Bedding is one of three men charged with human trafficking related offences in Yorkshire.


59-year-old Mohammed Rafiq — together with two others — is slated to appear at Kirklees Magistrates Court on 1st December after being charged last week with conspiring to arrange or facilitate travel within the UK for exploitation.

The charges were brought as part of the local police force’s long-running Operation Tavernhouse investigation into the treatment — and alleged exploitation — of migrants in the area.

The other two men charged are 39-year-old Mohammed Tariq Patel and 46-year-old Mohamed Dadhiwala, who also has a history in the bed industry having been a director of a bed company that closed back in 2010.

The story broke in local newspapers late last week and was followed up by the Sunday Times yesterday, which reported that both Mr Patel and Mr Dadhiwala were Hick Lane employees. This could not be independently verified.

Hick Lane parent company Kozee Sleep Beds in Dewsbury — wholly owned by Mr Rafiq and family — grew sales to over £18m in 2013 with profits reaching a five-year high of £376k.

Its retail customers have included some of the largest department store and general retailers in the country, though there are understood to have been changes to the company’s customer base post its latest year-end, with two of the largest stockists no longer buying from the company.

Through Hick Lane Properties, Mr Rafiq also owns a number of residential and commercial properties in the Dewsbury area. He is also the sole director of Sleep Relax Beds, a newco incorporated at Companies House in September of this year. No-one was available for comment.



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