Police in Bognor Regis are warning Eastern Europeans not to respond to internet adverts which promise work in the UK - for a fee.
The Operation Accent team, set up a year ago to reduce crime and vulnerability within the Eastern European community in Arun, has received an increase in reports of individuals who have been lured by the adverts.
Placed on both English and Polish websites, the adverts provide details of a local business and include a job description, contact and phone number. The information has been taken from the website of legitimate companies, who are unaware the adverts have been placed.
The site states that if individuals pay money - in the region of £120 per person - they are guaranteed a job at minimum wage and local accommodation. Reports have been received by police that large numbers of individuals are staying in houses in the Arun area and are under pressure from the individual promising them work.
Sgt Rachel Glenton, who leads the Operation Accent Communities Team, said: “The majority of Eastern Europeans who come to Arun district are hardworking people who want to make a better life for themselves and their families so they’re lured by the prospect of a job and somewhere to live.
“I would ask people to ignore these adverts as they are not legitimate. The companies mentioned have no idea the adverts are being placed and do not advertise in this way for employees. Do not hand any money over - you do not have to pay for employment in the UK.”
She added: “There are housing providers locally and these include properties of multiple occupancy. Housing conditions should not be cramped and there should not be multiple individuals per room.
“The Operation Accent team is working in partnership with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to tackle this issue.”
If anyone has any concerns or information that they feel can assist the Operation Accent team please email email@example.com, Facebook ‘Operacja Akcent’ or via twitter @sergeantglenton.