Shop owners under investigation for treatment of illegal workers

KwikSave Local shop on Stanifield Lane in Farington
KwikSave Local shop on Stanifield Lane in Farington

Illegal immigrants working at an off licence in Leyland were treated ‘little better than slaves’, police have revealed.

A man has been deported from the country after he was found to be working illegally at the Kwik Save Local store on Stanifield Lane in Farington.

Another man is still in the country, as the UK Border Agency is reviewing an asylum claim from him.

South Ribble Council last week revoked the licence of the store after police raised concerns about the premises.

Sgt Anthony Bushell said in a document for consideration by the council’s licensing sub-committee: “The police have real concerns over the ownership and management of these premises.

“It is evident that these illegal immigrants are little better than slaves who are forced to work and live furtive lifestyles while being exploited by their taskmasters.”

An investigation started after enquiries revealed the business was employing illegal immigrants not entitled to work in the UK.

As a result, police believed the licence holder was flouting a licensing rule preventing crime and disorder, and asked the council to get involved.

After numerous visits from the council licensing enforcement officer and the police, it was discovered a number of workers who were working in the store had no legal right to be in the country.

The police asked the council to revoke the licence because no appropriate conditions could be imposed to address the matter.

Sgt Bushell told the Guardian: “I am pleased the licensing committee have, after hearing all the evidence, decided to reinforce our recommendation and revoked the premises’ licence.

“We will continue to target those premises where it appears that there is illegal employment taking place.

“This is not only a criminal offence but it has a major impact on the local and national economy, in that tax and National Insurance is not being paid.

“It also effects local communities, as it deprives them of legitimate employment opportunities.”

He added: “Any information we gain is passed to the UK Border Agency which can independently review proceedings and instigate legal proceedings against persons found employing these individuals.

“This can be a fine of up to £10,000 per person employed.”

Coun John Rainsbury, chairman of the council’s licensing committee, said: “We take any breaches of licensing objectives and conditions very seriously.

“Employing illegal immigrants is a criminal offence that clearly falls into this category, and members felt we had no alternative in this case but to revoke the licence.”

The licence holder has 21 days from when the licence was revoked (last Tuesday) to appeal the decision, and if he does, the case will go to court.

Up until that time, and during any potential court case, the shop is free to continue trading as normal.

If an appeal is not lodged, or is eventually unsuccessful, the premise will no longer be able to sell alcohol.

The UK Border Agency would not confirm which country the two men were from.

The Guardian was unable to contact the licence holder of the shop.