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GLA Ensures Dorset farmer is hit with community service order

GLA Ensures Dorset farmer is hit with community service order

A farmer who illegally supplied relief milking workers to farms in Dorset and Somerset and failed to pay them for their work was ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work by Weymouth Magistrates’ Court.

Andrew Newsam, aged 46, of Dickley Down Farm, Sydling Road, Cerne Abbas, last month pleaded guilty to a charge of acting as an unlicensed gangmaster over a two year period from the end of August 2009.

He was given the 12 month Community Service Order for 200 hours along with an order to pay &pound2,500 towards prosecution costs.

Newsam appeared for sentencing on Wednesday (March 20), when the court was told he had placed advertisements offering relief dairy workers in both the Western Gazette and Blackmore Vale Magazine.

His business, AMN Services, provided milkers on a relief basis – some for months at a time and others for odd weeks to cover holidays. The court was told that a company performing this service requires a licence from Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA).

A GLA enforcement contacted the number given in the advertisements and arranged to meet with Newsam in Dorchester. Enquiries established that Newsam had been trading for some months and he was advised at the meeting that to continue supplying workers would be in contravention of legislation.

Newsam was issued with an enforcement notice but chose to disregard that and continued to supply workers without pursuing an application for a licence.

Alexander White, prosecuting, told the court : “The workers who have provided statements variously complain that AMN failed to provide contracts of employment, was late paying wages or never paid at all, failed to respond to concerns regarding safety and failed to pay any taxes or provide P45s on the termination of employment.

“In short, AMN’s shortcomings exemplify exactly why gangmasters who provide labour to the agriculture sector need to be licensed.”

The GLA was formed in 2006 to enforce legislation that was introduced in the wake of the Morecambe Bay cockle picking disaster of 2004. A total of 23 Chinese workers were swept out to sea and drowned while gathering shellfish in the Lancashire bay.

The authority’s aim is to work in partnership with other agencies to protect vulnerable people, specifically those working in the shellfish gathering, agriculture, horticulture, food and drink processing and forestry sectors.

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