Fenland magistrates: Lithuanian man’s working conditions are “slavery”

SHOCKED magistrates have called an immigrant worker’s job “little less than slavery” after hearing that he is left with just �15 in his pocket after working up to 72 hours a week.

Kazimieras Lemezis was brought to the UK with the assistance of an illegal gangmaster after paying a �400 fare last month,

The 59-year-old widower - who had hoped to raise enough cash to help his daughter through university - was brought to Wisbech, and works between 10 and 12 hours a day, for five or six days a week.

Appearing at Wisbech courthouse, the worker admitted he had stolen �131 worth of groceries to supplement his meagre diet of bread and potatoes.

A gangmaster charges the Lithuanian rent for a room he shares with two others, and he has to pay �35 a week for transport to work. That leave him with just �15 cash, solicitor Roger Glazebrook told Fenland magistrates.

“They pick him up in an unmarked van, he does not know who they are, the question is, who is employing this illegal gangmaster?” asked Mr Glazebrook. “He is scared to give information to the police, because someone who gave information was beaten up.”

“To get out of these people’s hands, he needs to get a National Insurance number. He wants to go back to Lithuania, because he realises he has made a mistake. My advice is for him to go to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau,” added Mr Glazebrook.

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Lemezis, who lives in Wisbech, stole the groceries from the Tesco store in Wisbech on August 23.

“He went shoplifting because he did not have much to eat,” said Mr Glazebrook. “He was desperate, he does not get enough money to survive.”

Presiding magistrate Alan Jones said: “What you have described is nothing more and nothing less than slavery,

“We are shocked by the story we have had put before us. The way you are being treated in this country is nothing short of shameful. Someone needs to do something, it is a disgraceful situation.

“You need to get out of the clutches of the individuals who are treating you in this way.”

The court fined Lemezis �50 but that was wiped out by the time he had spent in custody.