MP Barclay urges more raids against immigration abuse in Fens after meeting Home Secretary

Dawn raids were held across the Fens last month in a multi-agency operation against the exploitation

Dawn raids were held across the Fens last month in a multi-agency operation against the exploitation of migrant workers. - Credit: Archant

An MP has called for a new wave of police raids to crack down on immigration abuse following a meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May.

MP Steve Barclay

MP Steve Barclay - Credit: Archant

Following a high-profile set of dawn raids in Wisbech, March and King's Lynn last month, North-East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay urged officers to 'keep the heat on' those exploiting migrant workers.

Codenamed Operation Endeavour, the raids led to 10 arrests and more than 80 migrant workers being taken to specialist refuge centres set up by the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Mr Barclay said: 'It is important that this success is followed up with further police investigation to protect both vulnerable migrants and local residents from the criminality of illegal gangmasters.

'I have therefore held a series of meetings in the last three weeks in parliament with home secretary Theresa May, immigration minister Mark Harper and security minister James Brokenshire to discuss the recent operation and the importance of further enforcement action.'

Last month's raids involved 200 police officers as well as representatives from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, Fenland District Council, the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the Home Office and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

In a letter to Mr Barclay following the meeting, Mrs May acknowledged the success of the multi-agency approach and congratulated those involved.

However, Mr Barclay said: 'We should be in no doubt that abuse is still taking place within our community and this needs to be tackled.

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'We must therefore work to ensure that offenders cannot continue their dubious activities as soon as the police vans have retreated and the heat is off.

'In short, the success of Operation Endeavour must not be a high-profile one off.

'In order to achieve a genuine turnaround I believe the National Crime Agency now needs to be tasked with leading work across agencies, and across county boundaries, so that existing legislation is enforced to the full.'

Mr Barclay is due to meet Mr Brokenshire again in the coming weeks to explore how to build upon the momentum gained from Operation Endeavour.

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