The West

A man missing in Britain for 13 years claims he was kept as a slave on a farm and forced to sleep with rats.

London's Daily Mail reports that Darrell Simester disappeared after arguing with friends during a holiday in Wales in August 2000.

Described as a vulnerable man by his parents Tony and Jean, Mr Simester was found at a remote farm in south Wales after an anonymous tip-off.

Over the years his desperate parents contacted the police more than 50 times but were never able to locate their son.

According to the Daily Mail, police discovered Mr Simester living in a filthy caravan in a farmyard with no running water. He was starving, wearing dirty, torn clothes and had teeth missing.

Mr Simester has been reunited with his family in Worcestershire, but he is being treated for a host of medical problems caused by his poor treatment over the past 13 years.

He told The Sun in London that he had been treated like a slave by a group of Irish travellers who lured him to the farm with a job offer.

Mr Simester said he was forced to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and was never allowed to visit a doctor or even leave the farm.

"I never had one day off in 13 years," he said. "I was scared what they'd do to me if I didn't stay."

He told the Daily Mail he was initially forced to sleep in a rat-infested shed but was moved into a caravan two years ago. He said he bathed using water from a horse trough.Tony Simester said his son's treatment was inhumane.

"These type of people roam the streets picking up the vulnerable and offering them a new life. Then they are treated like dogs," he said.

A Facebook page set up by Jean Simester to help find her son attracted 9000 likes.

In February Mr and Mrs Simester put out an appeal in a Welsh local paper after receiving information through the Facebook group that made them think he could be in Wales.

The next day they received a call from an anonymous person who said they were 95 per cent sure they had seen Darrell at the farm, near Cardiff.

Mr and Mrs Simester and their youngest son Duncan travelled to the site with police where they found their son.

"What can I say? This day has made my life," Mrs Simester said.

And then this post on the Facebook page: "We will share our good news. We have our son Darrell back home. So this has been the greatest day of our lives. Please respect our privacy for the next few days we have to let him recover. Many thanks for all your good wishes over the years and not giving up. You are wonderful people and I feel that I know you all. From the bottom of my heart a very big thankyou. xxx"

Tony Simester told the Daily Mail his son has been to hospital several times since his return. His problems were "all down to the conditions he has been subjected to over the last 13 years".

Another message on Facebook this week said: "Darrell is settling down to a peaceful family life, something he has missed out on in the last 13 years. His health is our priority and each ailment is being dealt with even though it seems to take ages to get anything done for him. He at last sleeps in a proper bed with bed linen and proper washing facilities, clean clothes, all of which he has not had."

Gwent Police told the Daily Mail they were investigating the conditions in which Mr Simester was living and working.

The West Australian

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