One Arrest in Norfolk 'Crime Gang' Raids
18th July 2013
A man was arrested on suspicion of fraud yesterday as part of an ongoing multiagency inquiry into the suspected exploitation of workers and other criminal activity of a gang in Norwich.
Officers from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority joined forces with Norfolk Police, Norwich City Council and the UK Border Agency to execute three warrants in the city yesterday morning.
Raids were carried out and evidence seized at a garage in Denmark Opening, off Sprowston Road, as well as homes in Ranworth Road and Wilberforce Road.
The searches took place as part of a police „day of action‟ in Norwich and came after months of investigative work into the activities of the Lithuanian gang operating in the north of the city. It is suspected they might be involved in supplying workers for both agriculture and food processing without a licence. Provision of temporary workers to these sectors is regulated by and requires a licence from the GLA.
The three addresses were entered simultaneously and the 23-year-old man was arrested at Ranworth Road on allegations of fraud by false representation. He remains in custody at Wymondham Police Investigation Centre.
GLA Chief Executive Paul Broadbent said: “As an intelligence-led organisation, we rely on members of the public to inform us when something appears to be wrong within the employment sector we regulate.
“In this case, we had received enough information to suggest the suspect could be acting as a gangmaster unlawfully, and the properties we visited may be involved in serious organised criminal activities.
“By working with Norfolk Police and other local organisations, who teamed up to execute these warrants and search the properties, we have been able to retain substantial amounts of evidence.
“Through forensic investigation of the items seized, we will seek to prosecute these suspects.”
The Norwich Policing Commander, Superintendent Dave Marshall, said: “This day of action should serve as a reminder to those involved in criminality that we are intent on disrupting this activity.
“Whether it‟s the use of illegal drugs, handling of stolen property or the exploitation of the vulnerable, we are determined to target these issues which often impact on the quality of life for residents in our communities.
“Criminals need to be looking over their shoulder…I can reassure them we won‟t be far behind.”
Press release issued by GLA Communications and Information Officer Paul Fearn. Contact 0115 959 7069 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
1. The GLA operates throughout the UK and is a Non Departmental Public Body.
2. The authority was formed in 2005 in the wake of the Morecambe Bay cockle picking disaster when 23 Chinese workers drowned on the sands.
3. The GLA licences companies that supply labour (gangmasters) to agriculture, horticulture, food processing and packaging, forestry and shellfish gathering.
4. Its main strategic priorities are to prevent worker exploitation, protect vulnerable people and tackle unlicensed and criminal activity.
5. Under the Gangmasters Licensing Act (2004) it is illegal both to operate as, or employ the services of, an unlicensed gangmaster.
6. Nearly 1,200 labour providers are licensed by the GLA.