Wisbech Gangmaster Convicted
28th April 2010
A Cambridgeshire based gangmaster was sentenced for operating as a gangmaster without a licence on Thursday 15 April 2010 at Peterborough Magistrates Court. Ian Cooper who at the time of the offence was running the High Street agency Swift Recruitment (Eastern) Limited Ltd based in Wisbech, was sentenced to pay a fine of £300.
Mr Cooper who had previously held a licence issued by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, did not renew his licence in May 2009. He was found to be still supplying workers to the horticultural industry in Boston and Spalding in Lincolnshire on 28th July 2009.
Two horticultural companies were cautioned for using unlicensed labour, but the decision was taken not to prosecute them. If they are found to be using an unlicensed gangmaster again, there would be an increased likelihood of prosecution.
Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority said:
“Mr Cooper was aware he was trading without a licence, and continued to do so. The GLA note all businesses that have not renewed their licence and never assume they have simply stopped trading or stopped trading in our regulated sectors.”
“Whilst it may have not been in the public interest to prosecute the horticultural businesses, this time. We have already prosecuted one farmer for using unlicensed labour and would not hesitate to do so again in the right circumstances.”
Notes to Editors
1. It is criminal offence under section 12 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 to act as a gangmaster without a licence.
2. It is a criminal offence under section 13 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 to use an unlicensed gangmaster.
3. 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.
4. There have been nine convictions for offences under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act, seven for operating without a licence, one for using an unlicensed gangmaster and one for obstructing a GLA officer.
5. Paul Whitehouse, GLA Chairman, is available for interview.
Press Enquiries: 0115 900 8963
or 07825 797 095