A restaurant is facing a potential fine after a total of six illegal immigrants fled the premises during a raid conducted by UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers.
The team of officers visited Zafrani restaurant in Hatfield Heath last week (Thursday, February 2nd) and witnessed the six members of staff leave the premises as they entered.
Three of the individuals were caught in the building, one just outside of the restaurant, while the remaining two initially evaded capture.
A helicopter was employed to track them down after the UK immigration officers passed the men's details onto Essex Police. They were eventually spotted getting a taxi and tracked for 35 miles to Tilbury before the police traffic officers were able to stop the vehicle and take the men into custody – although not before the offenders had paid their £60 taxi fare.
Lorna Williams, UKBA officer who led the operation, commented: "The 2 men were instantly recognisable in this cold weather because both were in their shirt sleeves.
"These 2 probably thought they had got away, but we have an excellent working relationship with all our local police forces and they were more than happy to help us bring the men in. Ultimately, the men could have saved themselves a cold night and £60 if they had just come quietly."
One of the offenders was working while in the country on a valid student visa, while the remaining five were found to have overstayed their UK visas after moving to the country from Bangladesh.
The restaurant now faces a potential fine of £50,000 for hiring the illegal workers unless it can prove that it conducted the required right-to-work checks before employing the individuals. Meanwhile, the five offenders are being held in detention while steps are taken to remove them from the country.