Prosecution of Unlicensed Gangmaster in the Dairy Investigation
31st August 2011
On 24 August 2011 Christopher Blakeney appeared at Chippenham Magistrates Court charged with offences contrary to section 12 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, for acting as an unlicensed gangmaster.
No pleas were entered by either Mr Blakeney or Marden Management Ltd. The case was adjourned to 31 October 2011, for committal to the Crown Court.
This relates to the continuing dairy industry investigation, which was the subject of a GLA update issued on 20 May 2011, relating to 19 individuals charged with offences contrary to section 13 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 (using the service of this unlicensed Gangmaster).
The labour users appeared at Swindon Magistrates Court on 11 July 2011, during which the court heard legal argument on behalf of the defendants. The trial in relation to the labour users is to take place at Swindon Magistrates Court on 24 October 2011.
Notes to editors
1. Previous press releases in relation to this investigation can be found at: http://gla.defra.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=1013678 http://gla.defra.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=1013726 http://gla.defra.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=1013805
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. The Act establishing it was passed in 2004.
3. Protecting workers is the key aim alongside protecting legitimate labour providers and protecting the tax payer by uncovering unpaid taxes.
4. The GLA regulate the supply of workers and labour services to any of the regulated sectors in the UK.
5. It is a criminal offence to provide labour in the industries regulated by the GLA without a licence. It is also an offence to use labour provided by unlicensed labour providers.
6. The GLA assess compliance against its Licensing Standards which reflects UK legislation, including Forced Labour Offence. Licensing Standard 1.1 covers whether a person is “Fit & Proper” to hold a licence.
7. In December 2009 a new offence of forced labour was introduced in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. It became an offence in Scotland in August 2010. GLA guidance on the offences can be found in GLA Brief 9.
8. The GLA is committed to the Government’s regulatory principles, and does not conduct inspections without reason where potential risks may be identified.
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