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Lithuanian trio convicted of gangmaster offences over shellfish operations

Warning to others: 'We will find out and we will prosecute'

Three Lithuanian men have been convicted of gangmaster offences in Northern Ireland.

It followed an investigation carried out by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

Rolandas Linkevicius, 39, of Mountain View Drive, Newry, and Aurimas Andrijauskas, 37, of Maple Grove, also in Newry, were each fined £750, plus offender levies of £15.

Both pleading guilty to acting as unlicensed gangmasters.

Their company Coastal Seafoods Ltd was found to have been operating a business with eight workers out picking shellfish across Northern Ireland, without a GLAA licence, between October 2016 and May 2017.

Also prosecuted was Airidas Grabausks, 34, and of Clonmore, Newry.

Grabausks, a director of A&A Seafood Ltd in the city, admitted acting as an unlicensed gangmaster between November 2016 and May 2017 by similarly employing workers to pick shellfish across Northern Ireland.

He was fined £500 plus an offender levy of £15.

At Newry Magistrates’ Court this week, District Judge Eamonn King said that in both cases there was a degree of enterprise to make money but nothing more sinister.

GLAA Director of Operations Ian Waterfield welcomed the court action.

He said afterwards: “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. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a fine.

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