Border Agency confiscates cash from illegal workers

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THOUSANDS of pounds was seized by the UK Border Agency when its officers arrested three illegal immigrants at a house near Bury St Edmunds last Tuesday.

Two of the men attempted to hide several thousand pounds of cash as officers from the agency’s Local Immigration Team arrived at the house in Wheelwright Close, in Rougham.

Officers discovered the cash and £6,900 was detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Checks were made on the trio’s immigration status and it was found that a 48-year-old had overstayed his visa, while a 28-year-old and a 38-year-old were found to have entered the UK illegally.

The three men, all from India, were working at the Ravenwood Hall Country House Hotel and Restaurant, in Rougham.

Hotel owner Craig Jarvis said: “We employ approximately 80 staff, some of which come to us through reputable agencies.

“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.

“We are liaising with the Border Agency and being helpful and open in its enquiries.”

The men were arrested and remain in detention while arrangements are made 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.”

Immigration minister Damian Green said: “The UK Border Agency has undertaken a major enforcement campaign to crack down on immigration crime across Suffolk, detaining, prosecuting and removing people and gangs who have been abusing the system through sham marriages, illegal working, people smuggling and document fraud.”

Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can call the UK Border Agency’s Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.