PICTURE SLIDESHOW: ‘Dick Turpin’ protest held amid Sports Direct concerns

Dick Turpin and Black Bess rode through Chesterfield town centre in a re-enactment to highlight the plight of agency workers.

Campaigners from Chesterfield Unite staged Monday’s protest to raise awareness of what they call the ‘unscrupulous activities’ of employment agencies.

Workers were being subjected to ‘daylight robbery’, the protesters claimed.

They also raised concerns about working practices at Shirebrook-based Sports Direct, where the majority of workers are on ‘precarious’ agency contracts.

Last week, Sports Direct’s founder Mike Ashley admitted to MPs that workers at its warehouse were paid below the minimum wage and its policy of fining staff for being late was unacceptable.

HMRC is investigating the firm over the minimum wage issue, Mr Ashley said.

An internal investigation had discovered ‘some issues’ with working practices at the warehouse, which he had ‘hopefully’ addressed, he said.

The firm had ‘probably’ outgrown his ability to run it, Mr Ashley agreed.

He said much of what he’d found out, after starting an internal investigation into how staff were treated at the Shirebrook distribution centre six months ago, was an ‘unpleasant surprise’.