Farm labourer fined after admitting gangmaster offences

A farm labourer who acted as an illegal gangmaster has been fined £400.

Dean Currie, 33, pleaded guilty at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to receiving just over £6,000 for illegally supplying workers to pick potatoes at a number of farms in Fife. 

The court heard that Currie, of Leven in Fife, did not possess a gangmaster’s licence to provide workers in contravention of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA). 

His crimes came to light in October 2021 when officers from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) received reports that Currie may be supplying workers into the regulated sectors without a GLAA licence.  

An investigation subsequently confirmed that that the accused had provided labour to the farms despite not having the relevant licence.  

The owners of a number of farms told how Currie had lied to them when they confronted him over his possession of an accredited GLA licence. 

He told one farmer that he had a GLA licence but later claimed he could not get one because he had a previous criminal conviction. 

Helen Nisbet, Procurator Fiscal for Tayside, Central and Fife, said: 

“The gangmaster legislation introduced a licencing 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.” 

Fiona Panetta, Investigating Officer, GLAA 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.”