Wage rules breach at car wash
ACAR wash in Southport has been hit with a “large fine” after paying below the minimum wage and breaching health and safety laws.
A man in his 20s was also arrested for immigration offences after officers raided the Handy Andy Car Wash at Dobbies Garden Centre in Birkdale.
Police, along with partners from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Health and Safety Executive, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Autho rity (GLAA) and Operation Sanctuary joined forces to undertake a warrant as the premises was suspected to be committing human trafficking offences.
The raid was carried out at around 10am on Thursday in response to information that the premises was involved in modern slavery offences.
Following welfare interviews with all 12 members of staff, it was identified that the premises was operating illegally in relation to minimum wage offences and breached health and safety rules.
Detective Superintendent John Webster said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the officers and partners... involved in investigating this case.
“We are committed to protecting the public, and in doing so we’ll continue working with partner agencies to prevent this type of criminal activity.
“Modern slavery is a despicable offence and abuses the victim’s human rights. We therefore encourage the reporting of this type of crime and I would urge anyone who has any information relating to Modern Slavery or human trafficking to contact 101, or anonymously through the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121700.”
A spokesman for Dobbies Garden Centres said: “The Handy Andy car wash at Dobbies Southport is operated by an independent franchisee.
“We have robust procedures in place to ensure all Dobbies employees are eligible to work within the UK, and would expect all of our third-party concessions to uphold the same standards.
“Therefore, we are taking this situation extremely seriously and have launched our own investigation with the franchise owner.
“We will take action depending on the outcomes of both the police investigation and our own.”
The Handy Andy Car Wash franchise operates at the Dobbies site in Southport, but staff are employed independently of the garden centre chain