Seafood sector illegal gangmasters fined

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Three Lithuanian men have been fined for gangmaster offences in the seafood sector
Three Lithuanian men have been fined for gangmaster offences in the seafood sector
Three Lithuanian men have been convicted of gangmaster offences in Northern Ireland, following an investigation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

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.

Not sinister

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.”   

Criminal offence

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.

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