BOGUS workers at two North East takeaways were arrested in a series of raids during a crackdown on illegal immigrants.
UK Border Agency officers launched an undercover operation after receiving intelligence about two of the region’s restaurants.
Two Bangladeshi men, aged 26 and 49, were arrested at Shaj Tandoori, on High Street, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, on suspicion of overstaying their visas.
Specially trained officers also targeted the Dine@Home restaurant, on the Coast Road, Battle Hill, where they carried out checks on members of staff.
A Bangladeshi man, 39, was arrested at the Tyneside restaurant on suspicion of entering the country illegally.
Last night enforcement officers said steps would be taken to eject all the men from the country and vowed to target those who flouted the law.
Wallace Wilson, manager of the UKBA Northumbria local immigration team, said: “Business owners who choose to use illegal labour can expect a visit from the UK Border Agency and to pay a heavy financial penalty.
“Our specially trained officers carry out enforcement visits every week, and we will continue to clamp down on those employers who seek to cheat the system.”
Officers carried out the raid during a co-ordinated attempt to tackle immigration crime.
Both businesses were issued with civil penalty notices of up to £10,000 per illegal worker – a potential total of £20,000 for Shaj and £10,000 for Dine@Home.
The businesses now have 30 days to show that they carried out proper checks on the workers, or face the financial penalty.
Mr Wilson said: “Illegal working costs the taxpayer huge sums of money. We would urge anyone with detailed information about suspected illegal working to get in touch.”
The operation comes just weeks after chefs suspected of working illegally at a Northumberland restaurant were arrested following a co-ordinated raid by immigration officers.
Five bogus employees were handcuffed and led away from the Bawarchi Indian Restaurant, on Brewery Lane, Ponteland, following a planned operation.
Detectives from the UK Border Agency launched the raid after gathering intelligence on the premises, which could result in fines totalling £50,000 for the owners. Last night a spokesman said the UKBA provides support to employers so they understand the rules, from compliance visits to a dedicated telephone and website support. However, they have a responsibility to carry out the checks before they employ migrant workers.
Anyone with information on illegal workers should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, the Northumbria local immigration team on 0191 2380484 or on the UKBA website www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk