Joint GLA Operation
Joint GLA Operation
A joint operation co-ordinated by the Eastern Region Intelligence Unit and involving Norfolk Constabulary, UK Border Agency, Immigration Crime Team, UK Human Trafficking Centre, Gangmasters Licensing Authority, Inland Revenue and the Migrant workers helpline staff has taken place in Thetford.
The operation followed a Gangmaster Licensing Authority investigation that was extended to include the additional support and expertise from a variety of agencies due to the potential and wide ranging issues involved.
Five multi-agency teams carried out warrants under the Immigration Act to search for suspected illegal immigrants at numerous properties in the Thetford area.
A total of 23 Indian nationals were located at the other premises. Three persons have been detained by UKBA for immigration offences and conveyed direct to Harwich for immigration procedures. Five Hungarians and three Polish workers were also found.
A 49 year old male has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigrants into the UK and is currently being held in police custody pending further enquiries.
The operation centred on alleged illegal gangmaster offences and the agencies concentrated on the primary offence of facilitating illegal immigrants in the UK. Norfolk police are also investigating offences of money laundering and substantial sums of cash have been recovered.
Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Mark Lay of the Eastern Region Intelligence Unit said: This was a joint franchise operation utilising the skills and expertise of partnership agency staff. The operation displays how criminal gangs can be dismantled using the powers and offences of all the agencies.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Bailey from Norfolk Constabulary said:
Todays operation has been very successful and a great example of what can be achieved through multi-agency working. These are very serious offences and we have worked with our partners to carry out the warrants and make an arrest. Despite the scale of the operation and the resources involved, the impact on the community was minimal with no disruption to those neighbours living in the areas affected.
A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: Officers from the UK Border Agency, with support from the police and HMRC have carried out an operation into immigration related crime in the Thetford area. As this investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.
A spokesman for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority said: Six enforcement officers from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority worked with partner agencies today in the Thetford area, to investigate suspected unlicensed gangmaster activity and other allegations.