Seven arrested in joint operation
25th April 2013
More than 50 officers searched homes and businesses in Scunthorpe, Gainsborough and London as part of a multi-agency investigation into alleged breaches of the Gangmasters Licensing Act, suspected fraud and money laundering offences.
The joint operation was carried out by a team from: the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, East Midlands Special Operations Unit, uniformed police officers from Humberside, Lincolnshire and the Metropolitan Police, Her Majesty‟s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
Private addresses in Gainsborough and London were entered and searched this morning at 7am. At the same time, search warrants were also served on six homes in Scunthorpe.
As a result of the operation, four men and three women were arrested and are now being questioned.
GLA chief executive Paul Broadbent said: “The GLA is set to implement a revised strategy with its key priority for the future being „to work in partnership to tackle unlicensed and criminal activity‟. The multi-agency approach employed in this instance is an excellent illustration of how we intend to operate from now on.
“We will continue to join forces with other relevant organisations and I‟m delighted – for the first time - to have added a Regional Asset Recovery Team to the growing pool of expertise we will call on. Ultimately, we want to use this approach to penalise criminals and eradicate criminal activity from the sector we regulate - providing a level playing field on which the lawful operators we licence can flourish.”
As well as the domestic addresses, this morning‟s operation involved an extensive search of a company premises in Scunthorpe. Production orders were also served on a number of businesses in the Scunthorpe area, along with others in Lincoln, Kings Lynn and Wakefield.
Detective Sergeant Doug Ing of the East Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team added: “The Regional Asset Recovery Team is a multi-agency unit of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, providing specialist support in all aspects of financial investigation. The unit works in partnership with a range of law enforcement agencies to tackle serious and organised crime.
“This is the first enforcement operation that has been conducted with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, and these arrests represent a significant step in what is a lengthy and complex investigation. We will now continue to work in conjunction with the GLA and other agencies, including the Crown Prosecution Service, to bring offenders to justice.”
This investigation is ongoing and no further information is available at this time.
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 2006 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.