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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Gangmaster laws come into force
There have been a number of cockling incidents on the Solway
New laws designed to help prevent a potential cockling disaster on the Solway Firth have come into force.

There have been a number of incidents on the coast off Dumfries and Galloway since the Morecambe Bay tragedy claimed at least 21 lives in 2004.

Now the Gangmasters Licensing Act means everyone who supplies workers to the agricultural and food-processing industries must hold a licence.

Those without licences face up to 10 years in jail.

'No excuses'

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) started accepting licence applications in April.

Mike Wilson, chief executive of the GLA said: "It is simple to separate the legal operators who are licensed from the illegal operators who are not.

"There are no excuses for anybody in this industry to deal with the rogue operators.

"The GLA will start enforcing the new law immediately. We will use all means available to find illegal operators and prosecute them."

From 1 December it will also be an offence for anyone to use unlicensed gangmasters.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) said the definition of a gangmaster "includes traditional gangmasters and recruitment and employment agencies".

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