Officers from across Yorkshire joined forces with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) in a multi-agency operation to increase awareness of the unlicensed hand gathering of shellfish.

Representatives of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit and North Yorkshire Police worked with the GLAA and other agencies including Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and HM Coastguard between Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 September.

They visited the North Yorkshire coastline between Filey and Whitby as part of a Europe-wide week of action co-ordinated by Europol and focused on Labour exploitation.

The main focus of the team was ensuring the personal safety of those working in the shellfish gathering industry, that they were licensed and that they were not being exploited.

The operation successfully targeted areas at risk and agencies were able to engage with those involved in gathering shellfish, local communities and those engaged in the fishing industry to raise awareness, gather intelligence and provide reassurance.  

Detective Inspector Vicky Wilson (Yorkshire and Humber Regional Modern Slavery Coordinator) said – “This was an excellent multi-agency operation coordinated by our partners in the GLAA.  By bringing together so many specialist agencies we were able to achieve our priorities of safeguarding potentially vulnerable people, reducing the opportunity for organised crime and providing reassurance to fishing communities whilst also promoting wildlife and coastal conservation.”