TWO unlicensed gangmasters were given a total of three years in jail yesterday after forcing migrant workers to slave for £1 a week on farms in Cambridgeshire.
Jurors heard how the pair — Ivars Mezals from Conference Way in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, and Juris Valujevs from Cresswell Street in Kings Lynn, Norfolk — recruited Latvian and Lithuanian workers with promises of well-paid work.
But when in Britain the migrants were herded into squalid homes and milked for sky-high rents and dubious “fines.”
One woman was fined £100 a day when she was unable to work because her child was ill, the court heard.
Judge David Richardson said: “There is a message in this case for everyone involved in the supply of migrant workers in the fields and processing and packaging plants of East Anglia.
“Farmers and producers themselves all need to hear that message.”
Mr Mezals received 18 months and Mr Valujevs 16 for operating as gangmasters without a licence, but they are expected to be released in early next year because of time already served.