A man who illegally supplied workers to two Scottish potato farms in October 2021 has been fined.
Dean Currie, 33, admitted charges of acting as an unlicensed gangmaster when he appeared before Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court in October this year.
Currie, of Leven in Fife, was fined £400 plus a victim surcharge of £20 when he appeared before the same court on Wednesday December 6.
Reports were made to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) alleging the unlicensed supply of workers by Currie.
Currie claimed on different occasions he had applied for a GLAA licence, his partner at the time applied for a licence which he would operate under, and that he was in possession of a temporary licence.
GLAA Senior Enforcement Investigator Fiona Panetta said: “Anyone supplying workers into our regulated sectors of agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering, and any associated processing and packaging must be licensed by the GLAA. Our regulatory scheme is a vital tool for protecting workers from abuse and exploitation, ensuring businesses meet their obligations and improve their treatment of workers.
“We will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers to stop unregulated gangmasters deliberately flouting our regulations by using unlicensed labour. We would also remind labour users to conduct their due diligence to prevent themselves falling the wrong side of the law by entering into arrangements with unlicensed gangmasters.”
Helen Nisbet, Procurator Fiscal for Tayside, Central and Fife, said: “The gangmaster legislation introduced a licensing system to ensure vulnerable workers are not taken advantage of.
“Dean Currie lied over his failure to secure a proper gangmaster’s licence and instead chose to act as an unlicensed gangmaster. In doing so he committed a serious offence and participated in a black market which leaves some of the most vulnerable people in society at risk of exploitation.
“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is committed to working with partners such as the GLAA to ensure that those people who break the law in our regulated sectors are brought to justice.”
Acting as a gangmaster without a GLAA licence is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
It is also an offence to use labour provided by unlicensed gangmasters. This offence carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine.