POLICE arrested 43 people as they busted a group of criminals that allegedly exploited illegal migrants for cheap labour in the Malaga province.

The criminals drew up fake contracts for the workers that showed the workers were earning up to €3,000.

Policia Nacional sources said the gang had some of the illegal workers living in inhumane conditions in homes that belonged to the organisation.

At least seven agricultural businesses took part in the crime, police added.

Officers started their investigation last November after a tip-off from the Foreigners’ Office and Malaga’s central government office.

“Taking advantage of their needs and the lack of a residence and work permit, the network presented these workers to the labour administrations with the identities of other foreign citizens who were in a legal situation in the country,” the National Police said.

Most of the victims of the scheme were Moroccans without official residency in Spain.

Investigators raided four homes during the bust, seizing €56,000, mobile phones and documents related to the scheme.

They also believe a notary and a lawyer helped carry out the illegal racket.

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