Fishermen sentenced for illegal shellfish gathering

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Two men were sentenced for illegal shellfish gathering
Two men were sentenced for illegal shellfish gathering

Related tags: Crime

Two men received suspended prison sentences last week for illegal shellfish gathering, after an investigation by North Wales Police and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA).

Christopher Mossman, 48, and nephew Kane Mossman, 20, admitted charges under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act, in relation to organising a group of workers to gather shellfish. The shellfish were sold to various customers across the UK and France.

Christopher Mossman admitted charges under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act, related to organising 10 workers who collected cockles and mussels from the River Dee estuary.

Sold and processed

The shellfish were then sold and the sales were processed in a bank account under Kane Mossman’s name. Kane Mossman pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the Gangmasters offence, by allowing a bank account in his name to be used for payment transactions.

Christopher was sentenced at Caernafon Crown Court on September 5, and received 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 240 hours of community service.

Kane was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service.

GLA head of operations Ian Waterfield said: “The shellfish sector holds many dangers for workers and was the reason the GLA came into existence.

“The judge in this case clearly appreciated that our licensing scheme continues to play a vital role in ensuring workers directed to collect shellfish on our shores receive the protection they rightly deserve.”

‘Exploitation of labour’

North Wales Police financial investigator of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit Jessica Cunnah said: “This investigation was a focused response to the exploitation of labour and to protect vulnerable workers used in shellfish gathering throughout the region and is the culmination of a protracted operation.

“The prosecutions form part of North Wales Police’s investment into tackling this type of criminality and demonstrates our desire to protect vulnerable workers and also utilise the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to ensure others do not benefit as a result.

The sentencing came 12 years after the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, in which 23 Chinese migrants drowned by an incoming tide while collecting cockles.

Meanwhile, four people were jailed for a combined total of 23 years in May, for exploiting migrant workers​ – some of which were employed in the vegetable sector . The gang was found guilty after an investigation found they brought their victims into the UK, housed them and overcharged for transport and rent. All the while, the group controlled where the victims withheld work.

Shellfish sentencing – at a glance

  • Uncle and nephew given suspended sentences for illegal shellfish gathering
  • 10 workers used to collect and sell shellfish
  • Payments processed in bank account under nephew’s name

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, Legal

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