Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Lithuanian trio convicted of gangmaster offences

Three Lithuanian men living in Newry have been convicted of gangmaster offences following investigations carried out by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

Rolandas Linkevicius, 39, of Mountain View Drive in the city, Aurimas Andrijauskas, 37, of Maple Grove and 34 year old Airidas Grabausks of Clonmore, Newry, pleaded guilty to acting as unlicensed gangmasters after 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.

Linkevicius and Andrijauskas were each fined £750, plus offender levies of £15. 

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.

Speaking at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Monday last, 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 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. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a fine.

It is also an offence to use labour provided by unlicensed labour providers. This offence carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine.