Oyster pickers travelled to Hayling Island from Surrey for 'picnic'

HEALTH inspectors swooped unannounced on a restaurant after a vehicle registered to the venue was seen near people picking oysters.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 4:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 5:09 pm
People seen oyster picking at the Kench on Hayling Island.

It comes as oyster and cockle picking have been thrown into the spotlight around the south Hampshire coast when officers launched an anti-slavery investigation.

Up to 60 people were seen gathering oysters at Hill Head last week, with police detaining 40 of them for processing at Hill Head Sailing Club. The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is investigating.

Separately, concerns were raised to the Langstone Harbour Board about a group of people who appeared to be oyster picking in mid-June at the Kench on Hayling Island.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The group of seven, reportedly including two children, had travelled from Surrey for what they told The News was a picnic - but also picked some oysters.

Video posted on social media on June 14 claimed to show up to 28 people at the Kench.

There is nothing to suggest the group from the restaurant were part of an organisation collecting them under orders.

Read More

Read More
Dog walker reveals details of industrial shellfish operation at Hill Head as sla...

An e-mail seen by The News from Waverley Borough Council’s environmental health officer, who visited the restaurant Thai Lotusland in East Street, Farnham, said: ‘They admitted to being there in a group of seven staff visiting Langstone Harbour area on Hayling island on their day off for a picnic on the beach.

‘The lady I spoke to said they did gather some oysters and ate them at the time but disputed the quantities shown in the pictures and said there was also another group of Chinese nationals on the beach gathering oysters.

‘I explained the health risk and that it was not permitted to gather oysters from this area for either personal consumption or commercial purposes.’

There was ‘no evidence’ of them being stored at the restaurant, and the officer added: ‘I am satisfied at this point that they were not selling them through the restaurant.’

When contacted by The News, a worker at the restaurant, who did not give her name, said the group of seven had no intention to pick the oysters but had been told by a friend it was a good place for oysters, so they chose to have a picnic there.

The woman said she saw other people there picking oysters who were not with her group. She said: ‘We are sorry.’

The part-time worker added: ‘Because the water came up we had to stop. It wasn’t much. There wasn’t much in there. We sat down and later the water just came up.

‘We tried to pick some – there were very small pieces of them. We ate some of them. We went there a long time ago.

Waverley Borough Council did not respond to enquiries from The News.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on portsmouth.co.uk. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to portsmouth.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit our Subscription page now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.