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Polish workers fleeced in bogus Sussex farming jobs scam
Polish families are being tricked by bogus adverts into paying to come to Sussex for non-existent farming jobs.
Eastern Europeans are being conned into starting a new life in Bognor with the false promise of a guaranteed job and accommodation.
In reality, cruel conmen are fleecing the wannabe workers out of £120 for jobs that don’t exist and then leaving them holed up in overcrowded shared homes.
Workers are told to wait for the firms to contact them and have been left waiting for up to a fortnight.
Others have contacted employers who know nothing about the advertised jobs.
Last year Sussex Police had one or two reports of the scam but officers have received three separate reports in the last week as recruitment for the picking season begins.
In one incident a whole family of brothers and sisters were lured over with the promise of work, only to be dumped in a packed shared house with no jobs.
Sergeant Rachel Glenton, who leads the Operation Accent Communities Team working within the Eastern European community in Bognor and Littlehampton, said the reports affected more than ten people but that the total number of people lured over by false adverts could be more.
Workers are promised jobs on Polish and English websites and have to pay for their first few weeks’ accommodation. They have to get themselves to Sussex.
Officers said it is not clear if the scam organisers had another plan in mind for the immigrants.
Sussex Police has been liaising with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority on the issue.
It is advising Eastern Europeans not to respond to the adverts and has also released the warning to the Polish media.
Up to 8,000 seasonal migrant workers, largely from Eastern Europe, come to Littlehampton, Bognor and Chichester every year for seasonal agricultural work.
Sgt Glenton said: “These people are left vulnerable with no money and no income and many are unable to speak the language.
“Packaging and picking firms have their own recruitment process but it doesn’t involve asking for payment.
“Do not hand any money over – you do not have to pay for employment in the UK.”
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