POLICE have denied a man missing from his home in Dewsbury may have come to harm after a row with gangmasters.
Hungarian Tamas Fuchsz, 49, has not been seen since leaving a house party on Jessamine Street, Ravensthorpe, on April 21.
Sources this week claimed that Mr Fuchsz had had a dispute with gangmasters who bring eastern European migrants to work in the UK.
Police searches of fields in Ravensthorpe and Mirfield last week, backed up by a helicopter, added to local speculation that officers were looking for a body.
But Det Insp Andy Leonard, of Kirklees Police, said Mr Fuchsz is not thought to have come to any harm.
It is thought Mr Fuchsz might have complained about the amount of wages being taken from him.
Mr Fuchsz was working at the Super Shine Car Wash at the corner of Chapel Lane and High Street, Heckmondwike.
Gangmasters fix foreign workers up with jobs and accommodation, but take a sizeable percentage of their pay.
A man who said he came to the area in such a manner more than four years ago told The Press of his concerns.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the people who bring migrants in and fix them up with work and accommodation take as much as 50 per cent of their pay.
He said: “Lots of people are unhappy with having to hand over much of their earnings, especially on such low-paid jobs. The worry is that Tamas made an issue of it.
“His friends are worried for him, although he might just have decided to leave the area.
“We’ve seen the police searching fields between here and Mirfield but they won’t say what they’re looking for.”
Det Insp Leonard said police used interpreters to speak with Mr Fuchsz’s work colleagues and those at the house party.
He added: “None of those spoken to expressed concerns of this nature and no evidence has been found to indicate he has come to any harm.”
Police searched routes between Jessamine Street and his home on Halifax Road in Dewsbury.
Det Insp Leonard added: “Some of the more direct routes were through fields, which is why these were searched.”
Officers are still treating it as a missing person case. Appeals for information have been posted on local buses and outside the Asda supermarket in Dewsbury.
Friends who reported him missing said he mentioned at the party he might travel to London.
He is about 5ft 7in tall, medium build, has tidy, straight, collar-length hair and is clean shaven.
Mr Fuchsz speaks little English and has a strong Hungarian/German accent plus a tattoo on his upper left arm which says “Alexandra”.
He was wearing a brown, possibly leather jacket, a white shirt or t-shirt, black suit trousers and black shoes when last seen.
The Government’s Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority (GLA), which protects vulnerable foreign workers, does not regulate car wash businesses.
Instead any such employees with concerns should call the pay and worker rights helpline on 0800 917 2368.