Restaurant to face licence review following immigration raid

The decision will be taken by councillors at Pathfinder House in Huntingdon

The decision will be taken by councillors at Pathfinder House in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

A St Neots restaurant could be stripped of its premises licence amid concerns from police and immigration officials that some of its staff were not entitled to be in the country.

Huntingdonshire District Council’s licensing sub-committee will meet on January 30 to consider whether the Nawab Lounge should face sanction.

The request to review the licence was lodged by Cambridgeshire police and followed a raid carried out at the restaurant, in South Street, on September 8 by officers and immigration officials.

During the raid, police arrested seven people on suspicion of immigration offences.

In a report sent to the committee, PC Clare Metcalfe said: “Of these seven, four were dressed as waiters, [wearing] black ties, waistcoats, trousers and shoes, with white shirts.

“Two [of the seven] were founding hiding under an upturned table in a cupboard, another was arrested halfway out of a window, whilst the last hid in an upstairs customer toilet.

“Another person was wearing a chef’s apron and tried to escape through the kitchen exit into the courtyard. Of the remaining two, one was found hiding under a bed, and admitted to cleaning dishes and preparing takeaways and the other was found hiding under a bed in the staff accommodation above the restaurant.

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“A person was observed on the roof of the premises. The roof can be accessed by the platform at the rear of the staff accommodation. There is some uncertainty that this male was not accounted for amongst the seven arrested.”

PC Metcalfe said immigration officials issued a civil penalty following the raid and that, as of December, an investigation was still ongoing.

PC Metcalfe added: “This review is respectively being submitted as it is the view of Cambridgeshire police that no right to work checks had been carried out at this premises, resulting in a number of persons who cannot lawfully be employed, working at the premises, thus meaning the prevention of crime and disorder objective of the Licensing Act 2003 has been seriously undermined.”

As well as removing the premises licence entirely, councillors on the licensing committee could also modify the conditions of the licence, remove a premises supervisor, suspend the licence, or exclude a licensable activity from taking place.