A five-year Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order (STRO) has been imposed on the owner of a hand car wash business following a joint investigation by Lincolnshire Police and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

Lincolnshire Police was granted the STRO against Sherwan Sahdi, aged 36, who runs Supershine Hand Car Wash on Spalding Road in Gosberton, by Lincoln Magistrates Court.

An interim STRO was also granted on Bachtiar Mohammed Amin, aged 34, who works with Sahdi at Supershine. The interim order is in place until a full court hearing takes place later this year.

Community cohesion officer PC Tamzin Hurley-Roe, who lead the investigation, said: “Over a number of years the business was found to be employing workers with no right to work in the UK at the Supershine Hand Car Wash.

“They were believed to be housing potentially vulnerable immigration offenders on and off site and arranging for them to be transported to site to work. Inquiries indicated that some workers were being paid significantly less than the national minimum wage and in some cases not at all.

“There were no disclosures of criminal offences by people believed to be in a position of exploitation making a STRO application appropriate with regular compliance checks to ensure that the business is operating within the restrictions. Any breach is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison.”

South Holland area inspector Nick Waters said: “The message across the county is strong and clear. Slavery and trafficking will not be tolerated. This order is a step forward in protecting vulnerable people from potential exploitation, even when criminal offences haven’t been disclosed or evidenced.

“Sadly, exploitation happens in our county, as it does across the UK, and we would encourage anyone who suspects that workers are being exploited to be their voice and report it.”

The STRO application was led by Lincolnshire Police with assistance from other organisations including the GLAA.

GLAA investigating officer Dale Walker said: “We are really pleased to continue our productive partnership work with Lincolnshire Police in securing sanctions against those we suspect of exploiting vulnerable workers.

“Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders have proved to be a valuable tool over the last few years in protecting communities from harm and allowing us to monitor individuals who potentially would otherwise commit slavery or trafficking offences.

“We will support the police in ensuring that this order is fully complied with and will not hesitate to take further action if we identify any breaches.”

The order specifies that Sahdi must abide by the following restrictions for the next five years, and the same restrictions are in place for the interim order placed on Amin until his full hearing takes place:

  • Must not arrange or facilitate domestic or international travel by any means for any other person other than himself and immediate family;
  • Must not organise, facilitate, or manage accommodation for any other person other than himself and immediate family;
  • Must not recruit any person with no legal status to work in the UK;
  • Must not employ any person who does not have a valid National Insurance Number;
  • Workers must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage and be provided with payslips;
  • Police or GLAA officers and anyone accompanying them must be granted access to their business premises at any reasonable time to check on the welfare of workers and compliance with the order.