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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Cumbrian Indian restaurant faces £20,000 fine over illegal workers

An Indian restaurant in Workington is facing a fine of up to £20,000 after a raid discovered two illegal immigrants working there.

UK Border Agency officials acting on a tip-off carried out the raid on the Spice of Bengal restaurant in Jane Street on Wednesday night.

Two Bangladeshi men, a 25-year-old student, and another man aged 41, were found working illegally and were subsequently arrested.

Several Border Agency officers took part in the raid.

The men are being kept at a detention centre pending their removal from the UK, say officials.

The restaurant has been issued with a civil penalty notice for employing the two illegal workers.

If the men’s employer is unable to prove that the proper pre-employment checks were carried out over the next week or so, they are likely to face a fine of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker.

Eddy Montgomery, operations director of the UK Border Agency in the North West, said the raid was part of an ongoing national crackdown.

He said: “This is the latest in a series of operations we’ve carried out to tackle immigration crime in Cumbria, and more are planned.

“Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.

“Businesses which operate outside the law should be warned that they will be found and they will be punished.”

A spokeswoman for the agency stressed that restaurants which employ illegal workers without checking their background are effectively undercutting rivals who operate legitimately.

In Cumbria, there has been a string of cases where businesses have been caught employing illegal immigrants.

Some business owners – including one from Cleator Moor – have been jailed.

Khandaker Mohammad Wahiduzzaman, 50, who ran the Anamika Tandoori in Cleator Moor, provided accommodation and food to three men who were found working there illegally in March last year. He was jailed for 23 months last December.

Employers who are unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employers or they can call the UK Border Agency’s Employers’ helpline on 0300 123 4699.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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