Their company, Coastal Seafoods, was found to have been operating a business with eight workers, who were out picking shellfish across Northern Ireland without a GLAA licence between October 2016 and May 2017.
Newry, Co Down-based Rolandas Linkevicius and Aurimas Andrijauskas both pleaded guilty to acting as unlicensed gangmasters. Each was fined £750 and ordered to pay offender levies of £15.
Airidas Grabausks, director of A&A Seafood, also admitted to acting as an unlicensed gangmaster between November 2016 and May 2017, after similarly employing workers to pick shellfish across the country. He was fined £500 and paid a £15 offender levy.
Speaking on Monday (20 August) at Newry Magistrates Court, district judge Eamonn King said that in both cases there was a degree of enterprise to make money, but nothing more sinister.
Commenting on the trial, GLAA director of operations Ian Waterfield said: “These successful prosecutions demonstrate our continued commitment to ensure that those people who break the law in our regulated sectors are brought to justice.
“In both cases, the defendants took a risk that they would not be caught without a licence. However, their attempts to flout the law have backfired and these cases should act as a lesson to all gangmasters in the shellfish industry. We will find out and we will prosecute.”
It is a criminal offence to provide labour in the shellfish sector without a GLAA licence, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a fine. The use of labour provided by unlicensed providers can carry a penalty of six months in prison.
If you or your business has been affected by illegal gangmasters, or are unsure whether you need a license yourself, visit the GLAA website for more information.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, a man supplying food processing staff was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery and gangmaster offences.