Arrests after immigration teams raid Indian eaterie

Two arrests were made at Michael's Indian Restaurant, Thornton.
Two arrests were made at Michael's Indian Restaurant, Thornton.
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Two men have been arrested by immigration officials after a Thornton restaurant was raided.

Members of the Home Office’s North West Immigration Enforcement Team entered Michael’s Indian Restaurant, on Fleetwood Road North, around 6pm on Wednesday to make the arrests.

A 32-year-old Pakistani man and a 36-year-old Bangladeshi man were both arrested on suspicion of working illegally.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “The Pakistani man had no right to be in the country and the Bangladeshi man was working in breach of his visa.

“He (the Bangladeshi man) was entitled to work (in the UK), but was working extra hours.” Officers are now looking to remove the men from the country while the owners could face a £20,000 fine.

However, Michael Sirdar, restauranteur at Michael’s, claims he carried out all the necessary checks before employing the men.

He said: “We have done all of our checks, have all the paperwork and have absolutely nothing to hide.

“I employ a lot of people and do all the checks and don’t take on anyone without the checks.”

Gwen Clarke, manager, added: “We didn’t know they shouldn’t have been working here. We absolutely fully comply with the checks.”

The business will be served with a civil penalty notice for employing the illegal workers.

If the employer is unable to provide evidence that legally-required pre employment checks were carried out, a fine of up to £10,000 per worker will be imposed.

Colin Berrington, assistant director from the Home Office’s North West Immigration Enforcement Team, said: “The message to employers on the Fylde coast who choose to use illegal labour is clear. We will catch you and you could face a heavy penalty.

“We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be made on staff, but those who break the law should know that they will face heavy fines.”

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