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Ten Indian nationals held in border agency swoop on factory in Leicester

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Ten Indian nationals suspected of working illegally in the UK were arrested in a UK Border Agency raid yesterday morning.

The workers were detained in a factory near Leicester city centre during an operation which involved about 60 border agency officials and police officers.

The border agency (UKBA), which planned and led the operation, invited the Leicester Mercury to accompany its officers on the raid of Colours Dyers and Finishers.

All entrances to the building, in Greenhithe Road, off Aylestone Road, were sealed off by police officers shortly before 10am.

Border agency officials entered the building and interviewed workers one by one.

At the end of the four-hour operation, 10 members of staff were detained by the agency. Their right to be in the UK at all is being checked. Those found to be in the UK illegally face deportation.

The firm faces a fine of £100,000 – or £10,000 for each worker – unless it can convince the agency it had made every effort to check the employees' immigration status.

Ramesh Patel, one of the firm's managers, said it passed all the documentation it had on its employees to border agency investigators.

Mr Patel said the firm had carried out background checks on all its employees and had believed they were entitled to work.

"As far as we were concerned, all of these people had the right to work in the UK," he said.

"We had carried out the checks required by law. Whatever documentation and evidence we have, we have passed to the border agency and the police and are co-operating fully with them."

UK Border Agency officer Teresa Gregory said: "Whatever the size of the business, when we have information to suggest a business is employing illegal workers we will take action. The resources are available.

"Offenders should know there is no hiding place, and that where we find people who are in the UK illegally we will seek to remove them.

"I urge members of the public with information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.

"We are happy to work with businesses and advise what checks need to be carried out on staff. However, those who break the law should expect a visit from our officers and to pay a heavy penalty."

Chief Inspector Martyn Ball, of Leicestershire Police, said: "It's important we work with our partners to tackle issues, such as illegal working, and that's why we were keen to support UKBA in this operation. I hope residents and visitors in Leicester feel reassured by the action taken today and by the fact that we proactively work with our partners to ensure those issues affecting our communities are tackled."

Anyone who has information on suspected immigration offenders can report it by searching for "report a crime'' at:

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

Ten Indian nationals held in border agency swoop on factory in Leicester


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