Four suspected immigration offenders arrested in North East operation

The arrests were made on Saturday.
The arrests were made on Saturday.

Immigration operations at two North East businesses have led to four people being arrested.

Acting on intelligence, Immigration Enforcement officers visited two businesses in North Tyneside and Gateshead on Saturday.

These premises were Top Gift Ltd, Beacon Centre, North Shields and Adams Continental Foods, Coatsworth Road, Gateshead.

Staff at both businesses were questioned in relation to their immigration status.

At Top Gift Ltd, a 29-year-old man from Pakistan was found to have overstayed his visa. He was arrested and is now detained pending his removal from the UK.

At Adams Continental Foods, checks identified a 41-year-old Libyan man who has an ongoing immigration application which does not entitle him to work. He was escorted from the premises and ordered to report to Immigration Enforcement whilst his case is progressed.

As part of the same operation, officers arrested two males from China at a residential address on Front Street, Chirton, North Shields. A 31-year-old was found to be a failed asylum seeker and the second was found to have entered the UK illegally.

The 31-year-old is now detained pending his removal from the UK. The second claimed to be under the age of 18 and has been passed to social services to be age assessed.

Both companies were handed notices, which warn they are liable for a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker found - unless contrary evidence is provided.

This includes whether or not the business carried out legally required right to work checks, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document confirming permission to work.

Phillippa Russell, Assistant Director of the North East & Cumbria Immigration Enforcement team, said: "These successful operations reflect our ongoing work to identify people abusing the UK’s immigration system. All of our operations are intelligence led and I would encourage people with detailed and specific information about illegal immigration to contact us.

"Using illegal labour is not victimless. It cheats the taxpayer, undercuts honest businesses and means legitimate job seekers are denied employment opportunities. It also exploits some of society’s most vulnerable people.

“Employers who do not carry out the simple checks to ensure their staff have the right to work in the UK will face the consequences.”