A MAN who claims he was enslaved by a family of Travellers and forced to work for nothing told jurors he didn't report his ordeal sooner because he was 'in fear' of the men.

Michael Joyce, 59, John Joyce, 34, Michael Joyce, 26, all of Redbridge Hollow, and David Boiling, 33, of Northfield Close, Littlemore, all deny five counts involving alleged forced labour.

Prosecutors say that the group exploited two alleged victims for nearly two years, forcing them to carry out manual labour at their home site of Redbridge Hollow, Oxford.

As their trial continued at Oxford Crown Court today one of the alleged victims - Paul West gave evidence via a live video-link.

During cross examination defence barrister Mark George QC, who is representing Michael Joyce senior, put to Mr West that there were several occasions where he could have reported what had been going on.

Mr West answered that the men made him feel 'petrified' and said that he was in fear of the Joyce family.

Asked whether he had ever been violently attacked by the men he answered: "I think I got one slap but I didn't get a kicking, no."

The court also heard that Mr West had had an addiction to heroin when he first got involved with the Joyce family and denied suggestions that he had been paid £40 a day for the work he completed at the Oxford site.

Earlier in the trial jurors were told that Mr West had first become involved with the group after taking out a loan of £50, which was to be paid back at a 'double bubble' rate, representing £100.

It was this debt which led to 18 months of exploitation, involving threats and pressure to carry out manual labour for little or nothing, prosecutors allege. Benefit money was also paid to the group by Mr West, jurors were told.

The men deny the charges and the trial continues.