Hotel workers arrested in agency swoop

THE owner of one of Suffolk’s top hotels last night voiced his shock after border agency officials arrested three of his temporary staff in an immigration swoop.

The men, all from India, were arrested by the UK Border Agency at a house in Wheelwright Close, Rougham, earlier this week.

All three worked at the prestigious Ravenwood Hall Country Hotel and Restaurant in Rougham.

The hotel is owned by Suffolk entrepreneur and charity fundraiser Craig Jarvis.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Jarvis said: “We employ approximately 80 staff, some of which come to us through reputable agencies.

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“We were, therefore, very shocked to receive the news from the border agency as we had always felt confident with the registered agency that we used for employing overseas workers.”

UK Border Agency officials said two of the men attempted to hide several thousand pounds of cash as officers from the agency’s Suffolk and north-east Essex team arrived at the property.

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However, officers found the cash and sequestered �6,900 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Checks made on the trio’s immigration status revealed that a 48-year-old had overstayed his visa, while a 28-year-old and 38-year-old had both entered the UK illegally.

Arrangements have been drawn up for their removal from the UK.

Chief Immigration Officer Dave Butler said: “This operation sends out an important message. If you are in the UK illegally we will not only find you, arrest you and remove you, but wherever possible we will also seize any illegally-held cash – meaning you leave the UK with nothing.

“Illegal working is unfair on the taxpayer and on law-abiding job seekers.

“It is a crime that not only undercuts local business, but also has a serious impact on communities, taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.”

The agency urged employers who are unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers to visit or to telephone the UK Border Agency’s Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.

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