Raid on flatbread factory finds illegal immigrants

By Graham Holter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Uk border agency

Raid on flatbread factory finds illegal immigrants
Six employees have been arrested at Honeytop Speciality Foods, the naan and flatbreads producer, after a UK Border Agency (UKBA) raid discovered that they were illegal immigrants.

UKBA officers raided the Dunstable bakery this week and took away five men and one women who were working illegally.

Three of the illegal workers - a Pakistani man, 47, an Indian woman, 30, and a Ghanaian man, 24, - had overstayed their visas. The others - two Indian men aged 36 and 25 and a 22-year-old Iranian man - had entered the UK illegally, according to the UKBA.

All have been taken into detention centres while arrangements are made to deport them.

200 staff questioned

The raid, which was carried out by the UKBA in partnership with Bedfordshire Police and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, also recovered employment records that will be the subject of further investigation.

Some 200 workers at the bakery were questioned during the raid, which involved more than 100 officers from the three agencies.

Simon Excell, UKBA’s regional deputy director, said: “The rules around the employment of foreign nationals are clear and apply to everyone, from the smallest business to major multinationals. No one is above the law.

“We will not tolerate illegal working which undercuts wages and exploits vulnerable workers. With potential fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker, those businesses with large numbers of offenders on the pay-roll are clearly facing the prospect of a substantial hit.”

McDonald’s and Sharwoods supplier

Honeytop was founded in 1984 by Samir Eid. The business is now run by his sons, William and Charles, and counts McDonald’s and Sharwoods among its major customers. It also supplies all the main retail groups in the UK.

The business now faces a potential fine of up to £10,000 per illegal worker unless it can prove that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “This summer we are targeting our efforts on breaking up the gangs behind visa scams; hitting rogue employers who repeatedly break the rules and doing more than ever to stop unwanted people coming to the UK.

“The message is clear - the UK is no longer an easy touch.”

Honeytop was not available for comment but has told a national newspaper it was unaware of any employees working illegally and is happy to supply personnel documentation to the UKBA.

Related topics People & Skills Bakery

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