Thursday, 18 August 2022

Restaurant in raid bids to renew licence

A RESTAURANT in Wargrave is bidding to renew its licence four months after it was raided by immigration officers.

The Haweli in High Street was temporarily closed after the operation by the Home Office which resulted in the arrest of four Bangladeshi men on suspicion of working in Britain illegally.

They included two 27-year-olds who had overstayed their visas, a 33-year-old with no permission to work and a 37-year-old who had entered the country illegally. All four faced deportation.

The restaurant was shut when a compliance order was issued by Reading magistrates which required the business to check its employees’ right to work in the UK, allow immigration officers to inspect the premises and inform immigration enforcement in writing before opening any other business.

The order will remain in force until November 1 next year.

The application to renew the licence was referred to Wokingham Borough Council, the licensing authority, by the Home Office.

Wargrave Parish Council has raised no objections.

Parish clerk Stephen Hedges said: “We have not had any complaints submitted to us with regards to this.

“Because it was referred from the Home Office the borough council is obliged to consider it.”

At the time of the raid, restaurant manager Raj Miah said the business had co-operated with the Home Office and provided paperwork proving the men’s right to work in the country.

He said two of the men were not employees but lived in flats owned by the business.

Haweli previously operated from another property in High Street and moved to its current premises across the road last year.

Raids on the restaurant’s sister business in Twyford in 2014 and 2017 found nine illegal workers and the company was subsequently fined £90,000.

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