Seven cleared of exploiting Kettering leek pickers

Seven people who employed European migrant workers to pick leeks have been cleared of exploitation charges.

They were accused of treating workers badly at their fields in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Cambridgeshire.

Ania Jemiolo, of Birmingham, and Gurdip Somal, Majinder Somal, and Jujhar Singh, of Kettering, denied plotting to exploit by arranging travel to the UK.

Four others were cleared of conspiracy to exploit by arranging travel within the UK.

Gurdip Somal, 52, his wife Manjinder Somal, and Jujhar Singh, all of Cleveland Avenue, Kettering, Northamptonshire, were accused along with Jemiolo, 26, of Holly Road, of the first conspiracy charge.

Mr and Mrs Somal and Jujhar Singh were also accused of the second conspiracy charge, along with Nizzar, 50, of Leven Way, Coventry, Varinder Singh, 30, of Gladstone Drive, Tividale, Oldbury, and Fateh Singh Bal, 25, of Havelock Street, Kettering.

The court heard allegations that the gang had provided accommodation for workers in Kettering which was "dirty, unsafe and unfit for human habitation".

Det Supt Glyn Timmins, from Northamptonshire Police, said: "We are naturally disappointed... but we respect the verdict of the court.

"We methodically, diligently and robustly investigated this case over a period of three years."

He said a lot of time was invested in the "painstaking preparation" for the "complex" trial, which lasted three months.

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