A court has approved the first Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order (STRO) in the hand car wash sector after an application by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

Boston Magistrates’ Court approved the two-year order against Mohamed Hamza at a hearing on Monday May 9.

Hamza, who runs the M&H car wash on Enterprise Way in Pinchbeck, must follow the conditions set out in the order or face a penalty of up to five years in prison.

The order prevents the 31-year-old from recruiting anyone who has no right to work in the UK.

Hamza must pay at least the National Minimum Wage and provide wage slips to all his employees.

He must keep written records of all employees and allow officers entry during trading hours to inspect conditions at the car wash and to speak to the workers.

The final condition compels Hamza to inform the GLAA in writing and prior to any change of operating address for any car wash owned or controlled by him.

Hamza, of Gladstone Street, Peterborough, asked the court to dismiss the application as he claimed that it was not warranted.

However, magistrates told him he had completely refused to co-operate with authorities or run a legitimate business, employing illegal workers on little or no pay.

The GLAA application was supported with additional evidence from Lincolnshire Police and Immigration Enforcement.

GLAA investigating officer Dale Walker said: “This is the first order the GLAA has secured in the hand car wash sector and also the first order in Lincolnshire.

“Our joint investigations with partners have indicated that Hamza has employed people for either little or no pay, with no records or contracts of employment.

“We hope this order will put a stop to this behaviour and prevent any further potential exploitation of vulnerable workers.

“We will monitor any hand car wash operated by him closely over the next two years and will not hesitate to take appropriate action should we identify a breach of the order.”

Inspector Fran Harrod of Lincolnshire Police said: “We know that there are areas of employment which may have a higher risk of exploitation, and we dedicate time to identifying those threats, and safeguarding the victims.

“These people are some of the most vulnerable and hidden members of our society, and their voices are completely soundless without intervention.

“This is the culmination of months of hard work by us, the GLAA, Immigration, and Trading Standards, and we are delighted that this is the result.”