TWO businesses could face prosecution after 12 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested in York raids, say police.

Officers from the UK Border Agency carried out the pre-planned raids on the Indian Ocean restaurant, in the Acomb area of the city, and Jaipur Spice, at Easingwold.

Border Agency officials, with support from police officers from the York West Safer Neighbourhood Team, arrested six men, aged between 24 and 52 at the Indian Ocean, according to a North Yorkshire police spokeswoman.

She said that a further six men aged between 18 and 49 were arrested at Jaipur Spice, which was previously raided by UK Border Officials in September 2009.

Both businesses were previously owned by Khaliqu Zaman, who told The Press that he sold both restaurants on to separate groups of investors several years ago. He declined to name them.

When contacted by The Press, Deepak Tsobar, the manager of the Jaipur Spice, said all employees at the business were hired in good faith and he had checked each worker’s documentation before a contract had been issued.

He claimed all workers had entered the UK legally.

The Indian Ocean declined to comment.

All those arrested will be held pending further investigations and could face removal from the UK.

The businesses now have 28 days to show they conducted the required checks on their staff. Businesses found to have knowingly employed illegal workers face a fine of up to £10,000 per worker following tougher new penalties introduced by the Government in December 2009.

North Yorkshire Police said it had been made aware of Friday’s operation but the issue was in the hands of the Border Agency.

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