THREE curry houses in York could be forced to close early and stop selling alcohol, after illegal workers were repeatedly found on the premises.
The UK Border Agency detained 12 men at the Indian Ocean Tandoori Restaurant in Acomb, The King’s Ransom in King Street, and Jaipur Spice in Haxby Road, in a series of raids on one day in February.
Six men were arrested at Jaipur Spice, three at King's Ransom, and three at Indian Ocean, all restaurants owned by York businessmen Kahlique Zaman.
Mick Wilkinson, North Yorkshire Police licensing officer, has asked for the licences to be reviewed and City of York Council’s licensing committee will decide the matter on Monday.
In a written report, council licensing manager Lesley Cooke said: "This is not the first time that immigration offenders have been found on Mr Zaman's premises. On two previous occasions in 2012 and 2013 immigration offenders have been found in restaurants owned by Mr Zaman.
“It is felt that Zaman has seriously undermined the licensing objective 'the prevention of crime and disorder' by allowing immigration offenders to work at the venue. It is for that reason that the police seek revocation of the premises licence given the serious nature of the offence.”
The licensing hearing next Monday will consider a series of options to be brought against Mr Zaman’s businesses, which range from alteration, suspension of the licence for up to three months, or to revoke the licences completely.
Under current legislation, Mr Zaman could be fined up to £10,000 per offender at each restaurant, and the report to the licensing committee states more than 20 immigration offenders had been arrested at Mr Zaman’s business around York on two occasions prior to the raids in February. Fines totalling £30,000 have previously been issued but withdrawn against Mr Zaman.
In the police report to the council, their alcohol licensing unit recommends revoking the licence completely, “given the serious nature of the offence”, and because it is not the first time immigration offenders have been found at Mr Zaman’s properties.
Mr Zaman was unavailable for comment on the meeting.