A company director from Dartford, who took part in a "despicable" £6m scam which exploited workers and has been compared to slavery, is finally behind bars.

Sandra Okoh, of Salisbury Road, was sentenced to five years in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court on January 30.

The 33-year-old helped directors and staff of Erith-based security firm Blue Feathers Guarding Ltd use the company as a front for employing illegal workers.

Blue Feathers paid their illegal workers £3 an hour, often on 24-hour shifts, while contractors using the firm were charged full rates.

Employees were unable to complain to the authorities as doing so would have revealed their illegal status.

Employment case worker Patrick McNamee, 54, was working at Cross Street Law Centre in Erith when a former Blue Feathers Guarding Ltd security guard, who does not want to be named, came to him complaining about the situation.

Their first meeting was as far back as 2011. 

Mr McNamee told News Shopper: "It was despicable. It was tantamount to slavery but with a bit of pay.

"The owners could quite easily have afforded to pay these people a decent wage and charge the right amount to the contractors.

"They were probably turning away legal workers because he didn’t want to pay them the full amount."

The Home Office’s South London Criminal Investigations team, supported by the Security Industry Authority, raided the company's Veridion Way offices in October 2012. 

When they searched the premises they discovered a large amount of forged identification documents.

A year ago a jury convicted directors Anthony Okoh, 46, of Floathaven Close, Thamesmead and Victor Chiazor, 51, of Nightingale Vale, Woolwich following a three month trial. 

They were sentenced to four-and-a-half years and 18 months respectively in March last year, although Anthony Okoh’s sentence was increased to eight years after the Home Office appealed the original one. 

At the time, the jury could not reach a verdict on Sandra Okoh and Obey Makusha, 35, of Sandpiper Close, Greenhithe and they faced a re-trial which started at Blackfriars Crown Court on October 12 last year.

Sandra Okoh was convicted on December 18. Obey Makusha was cleared.

Assistant Director Martin Huxley, from the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations team, said: "Sandra Okoh exploited these employees, taking advantage of their immigration status in the UK and helping to fuel the hidden economy.

"Our specialist teams regularly work with partners including the Security Industry Authority to clamp down on all forms of immigration abuse for criminal gain."