Immigration swoop on Blackpool takeaways

Pictures:Bill Johnson.'Border Agency raids at Blackpool takeaways. Fortune Garden, Highfield Rd.
Pictures:Bill Johnson.'Border Agency raids at Blackpool takeaways. Fortune Garden, Highfield Rd.
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Two illegal immigrants were caught working in a Blackpool takeaway last night during high profile raids by the UK Border Agency.

A team of six immigration officers, acting on intelligence, targeted three takeaways in the resort that had been highlighted as a potential employers of illegal immigrants.

During a swoop on the Fortune Garden Chinese in Highfield Road, South Shore, officers found two illegal immigrants.

A 37-year-old Chinese man and a 46-year-old Malaysian man were both arrested for entering the UK without leave to do so and taken into custody and will now be deported.

Officers also visited Los Gringo’s on Dickson Road shortly before 5pm.

There they discovered a 35-year-old Morrocan man on the premises that was already known to them as an illegal overstayer.

He was not arrested as he has formally lodged an appeal to stay in the country on the grounds he has children living here.

Speaking about the raid, Mosstafa Blamane, the owner of Los Gringo’s, said: “This was a really positive move by the Border Agency. I am pleased they came to visit and see we have no problems.

“People who employ illegal immigrants put other businesses at a disadvantage because they pay much less.

“I hope the officers will visit all the takeaways in Blackpool now.”

The third venue visited by the team was Curry Time, on Vicarage Lane. The manager Shohab Jalil told The Gazette he had learned his lesson about checking who he employs after previously being fined twice. He said: “The first time the Border Agency came round they found a member of staff who had overstayed his visa by two weeks.

“This time though everything has been positive as we have been using the phone service to help us to do the checks needed on our staff.”

Businesses where illegal workers are discovered can face receiving a fine of up to £10,000 for each worker discovered. Paul Airlie, assistant director of the Home Office Enforcement team, said: “Illegal working fuels immigration to the UK and that is why we are carrying out operations like this in Blackpool. “If you are a business you must carry out the correct checks or you could end up with a large fine. 
“We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be made on staff.”