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Swoops target rogue gangmasters

The operation focused on firms supplying workers to pick and pack fruit
The operation focused on firms supplying workers to pick and pack fruit

Rogue firms supplying fruit pickers across Kent are in the firing line after duping workers out of their wages.

The Gangmaster Licensing Authority, (GLA), has threatened to revoke some of their licences after carrying out a series of inspections.

Inspectors swooped on 20 businesses in the county - 10 of which were gangmasters.

The action followed allegations of wages being withheld and workers not taking holiday in over a year.

The GLA's operation focused on businesses supplying workers to pick and pack fruit in the county. The workers were mainly of Indian, Pakistani, Polish and Nepalese backgrounds.

Paul Whitehouse, GLA chairman, said: "The GLA is intent on catching the rogues and protecting the workers. We are not finished in Kent, we will be back."

During the inspections there were legitmate gangmasters, farmers and packhouses that were meeting legal requirements.

Mr Whitehouse added: "The reputable businesses were delighted to see us protecting their interests and share our determination to rid the industry of the rogues."

Seventy gangmasters' licences had been revoked in the UK since 2006, according to the GLA.

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