“Operation Regor” involved Police Scotland officers in Aberdeenshire and Moray working closely with partner agencies, including HM Revenue and Customs, the Department of Work and Pensions, and the Home Office Immigration Enforcement.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “During the intelligence-led operation which was carried out on 19, 20 and 21 November in the Fraserburgh, Buckie and Whitehills areas, a total of six people were arrested, five of which were in relation to immigration offences.
Additionally, a number of large-goods vehicles were stopped and checks carried out and quantities of cigarettes were seized. “The campaign also included visits to various fish processing factories in the North east towns, and to houses of multiple occupancy, restaurants and takeaway premises in Fraserburgh.”
Detective Inspector Kevin Goldie, who led the operation, said: “This intelligence-led operation was aimed at tackling those who benefit financially from their criminal activity. This criminal activity can involve the abuse or exploitation of migrant workers.
“We have carried out visits to numerous fish processing plants, restaurant and takeaway premises along with visiting a number of houses of multiple occupation, all in an attempt to identify tax avoidance or social security offences, the use of unlicensed Gangmasters by employers, employment and abuse of illegal migrant workers by unscrupulous employers and landlords and any human trafficking offences.”
He added: “Although we have detected crimes, arrested offenders and seized money, this phase of the operation was also used as a tool to measure the effects that our previous enforcement activity had on the local industry and local employers. I am delighted to say that it became clear that many employers are complying with the statutory requirements placed on them in respect of their workforces and are working with some of the agencies to continually improve their practices.”