South Cambs Police investigate potential exploitation at A14 car wash

Police attended a car wash on the A14 at Swavesy last night (Monday), along with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Health and Safety Executive and South Cambs District Council, as part of a joint investigation into potential exploitation.

Officers have been developing intelligence into potential human trafficking and labour exploitation in South Cambridgeshire.

The operation last night was set up to check on the welfare of people believed to be working and living at the hand car wash site on the A14, westbound in Huntingdon Road.

Officers spoke with people there to establish what their current employment and living conditions were. Each worker was interviewed and given the opportunity to be taken into voluntary protective custody in the form of the National Referral Mechanism.

Three men, aged 73, 29 and 20, have all been arrested on suspicion of labour exploitation. They currently remain in police custody at Huntingdon Police Station for questioning.

Five men and one woman, all of Romanian origin, were spoken to by officers last night and have been taken into voluntary protective custody in the form of the National Referral Mechanism. If you want information on the NRM then your best place to find it is here

Chief Inspector James Sutherland, Area Commander for South Cambridgeshire, said:

“Across the country there is widespread evidence of unscrupulous car-wash owners exploiting vulnerable migrant workers through low pay, human trafficking and dangerous living and working conditions.”

“A member of public has no way of telling if one of these ‘pop up’ car washes is doing this, therefore I would strongly urge the public to only use well established, legitimate car washes and if in doubt then don’t give them your business – a clean car is not worth dirty hands.”

Disqualified after traffic collision on A14

Just before 9am on 20 December 2014 a driver veered off the A14 at Swavesey crashing into a roadside sign.

Police officers arrived at the scene 6 minutes after being called to find a Vauxhall Astra van partially blocking the carriageway and the driver had left the area.

The driver, who once found appeared to be drunk was not difficult to identify. He was found about 500 metres from the crash wearing clothing marked with the same company name as marked on the side of the van he had crashed.

Nicholas Wade (32) from Peterborough was arrested for driving whilst unfit through drink but later failed to provide a specimen of breath for analysis at the police station.

Wade appeared at Cambridge Magistrates Court on 06/01/14 where he pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen of breath. His defence explained that he had been drinking the night before and did not consider the level of alcohol left in his system the following morning when he was driving to work. Wade has previous disqualifications for drink driving in 1996 and 2006.

He pleaded guilty and was banned from driving again for 3 years and ordered to pay £145. Wade was also given a community order with a 4 month curfew between 9pm to 5am except on Wednesdays where the curfew is between 10pm and 5am to allow him to attend alcohol addiction rehabilitation.

Caught with drugs leaving party in Swavesey

Jamie Stamp (21) from Chrishall was stopped by police officers in his vehicle leaving a large party on Cow Fen Drove, Swavesey on 9th November 2014.

Stamp tried to conceal illegal drugs in the groin area of his trousers but police at the scene were not fooled. The drugs were found and later identified as psilocin, cannabis resin, MDMA and diazepam.

Stamp was at Cambridge Magistrates Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to possession of a Class C controlled drug, two counts of possessing a class A controlled drug, and possession of a class B controlled drug with the intent to supply.

He was ordered by the court to pay £578. All the drugs will be destroyed by police.