Illegal immigrants apprehended at Hatfield Heath restaurant

FIVE illegal immigrants were arrested following an evening raid at an Indian restaurant in Hatfield Heath last Thursday (February 2) – including two who tried to flee in a taxi.

UK Border Agency officers and the police swooped on the Zafrani restaurant on The Heath at 8.10pm.

Six members of staff tried to make a run for it but three were apprehended on site and another was caught outside the front of the restaurant.

Two others initially evaded capture but were tracked down by a helicopter after officers gave the men’s descriptions to Essex Police.

Traffic officers apprehended the suspects nearly 35 miles away in Tilbury.

They were tracked down and taken into custody after being spotted flagging down a cab – but only after they paid the �60 taxi fare.

UK Border Agency officer Lorna Williams, who led the joint operation, said: “The two men were instantly recognisable in this cold weather because both were in their shirt sleeves.

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“These two 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,” she said.

Checks on the men revealed that five were visa overstayers from Bangladesh. They have been detained by the UK Border Agency while work is carried out to remove them from the country.

The other man was found to have a valid student visa.

Zafrani faces a fine of up to �50,000 – �10,000 per illegal worker – for employing the illegal workers unless it can prove that the correct right-to-work checks were undertaken.