Abusive Gangmaster Convicted
23rd March 2010
A Southampton based gangmaster has been sentenced for intentionally obstructing an officer of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority on Monday 22 March 2010 at Southampton Magistrates Court.
Jagjit Singh who at the time of the offence was running the gangmaster business Saphire Trading Ltd, was sentenced to complete 200 hours of unpaid work as part of a twelve month Community Order and ordered to pay costs of £10,902.59 within 6 weeks. While under investigation by the GLA, Mr Singh initially denied that he provided accommodation to his workers.
However he eventually provided a redacted list of properties and after a full list was demanded the officer identified 348 Portswood Road, Southampton and established that Mr Singh was housing Polish workers in a property deemed too dangerous for human habitation. In addition to the obstruction, the GLA investigation also uncovered persistent and systematic exploitation of vulnerable workers and revoked the licence shortly after the investigation was complete.
Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority said:
“Mr Singh made blatant attempts to mislead the GLA and hide the exploitation of his workers. He has not only lost his licence but faces significant costs and will have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work as a punishment.”
“My officers quite rightly do not take the gangmasters word at face value. They always investigate thoroughly and are used to uncovering the lies and deceptions that are regularly used to hide the worst cases of exploitation.”
Notes to Editors
1. It is criminal offence under section 18 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 to intentionally obstruct a GLA officer.
2. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) was set up to curb the exploitation of workers in the agricultural, horticultural, shellfish gathering and associated processing and packing industries.
3. There have been eight convictions for offences under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act, six for operating without a licence and one for using an unlicensed gangmaster and now one for obstructing a GLA officer.
4. Ian Livsey, GLA Chief Executive, is available for interview.
Press Enquiries: 0115 900 8963
or 07825 797 095