Unlicensed Northern Irish gangmaster fined
19th October 2021
A Northern Ireland-based gangmaster has been fined £3,500 after supplying workers to three meat factories in England without a licence.
Shane Brimstone, 43, of Fortview Park, Kesh, County Fermanagh, pleaded guilty to three counts of acting as an unlicensed gangmaster when he appeared before Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court on Monday October 18.
Investigations by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) revealed that Brimstone had arranged to supply workers to an abattoir in Somerset and two meat processing plants based in the north-west of England. He had picked up job adverts within the meat industry and advertised them on his Facebook page. From there, he contacted the companies involved and agreed terms to place the workers with them.
Brimstone initially pleaded not guilty to one of the counts, as the workers did not turn up to one of the sites in question. However, District Judge Steven Keown accepted the GLAA’s argument that he had acted as an unlicensed gangmaster having arranged and been paid £1,500 for the supply of those workers.
GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Martin Plimmer said: “The GLAA operates a rigorous licensing system to create a level playing field in the supply of workers in the fresh produce and food processing sectors.
“Tackling unlicensed criminal activity and ensuring that GLAA licence holders abide by the regulations is a key priority for our organisation. We will not hesitate to take appropriate action to maintain a credible licensing scheme and protect vulnerable workers.”
Acting as a gangmaster without a GLAA licence is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
It is also an offence to use labour provided by unlicensed gangmasters. This offence carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine.
- As of 20 April 2022 Shane Brimstone has satisfied the requirements and criteria needed to obtain a GLAA licence which now allows him to trade. Licence no. SHAN0001