A restaurant which changed its name in a bid to continue trading after being caught employing a chef and waiter illegally has had its licence refused
Essex Police raided the Yak and Yeti, a Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan restaurant, near the Elms in London Road, Leigh in January with employees found to be working illegally.
The restaurant’s license was revoked on June 12 following the immigration raid and an application was made to transfer the licence to Masala Kitchen UK Ltd.
Essex Police objected to the transfer on the grounds the new owner, Mr Singh was a director at the restaurant at the time of the raid.
Keeley Drain from Essex Police revealed the restaurant had been raided by police in 2013 when illegal workers were also discovered. In this year’s raid one of the workers told officers he had been paid by Mr Singh
Speaking to a licensing committee, she said: “Mr Singh was the sole director of the previous company at the time the immigration raid took place and we don’t feel this transfer allows for a change of business management and we have concerns that illegal workers police found at the premises on two occasions now while being operated within the same family.
“That does give rise to concerns that it would continue to operated in a similar way in the future.”
The restaurant has been operating as a takeaway since July.
Following the raid one of the workers told officers they had been working at the premises for six months as a waiter after a friend got him the job. However, he was not required to show any documentation of his right to work.
The other had been working there illegally six days a week for around nine months.
The licensing committee heard the current owner took over the running of the business following the death of his brother and had no idea illegal workers had been employed. His counsel David Dadds, told councillors Mr Singh had no choice but to carry out the wishes of his older brother as head of the family to work for the business as a director.
Mr Dadds said: “It is unlikely that the licensing objectives in relation to the operations selling food and alcohol as a restaurant will be undermined. It’s very low risk and unlikely to happen so going forward you can have confidence that these premises will promote the licensing objectives.”
Mr Dadds said all employees at the restaurant now had right to work checks and all the relevant paperwork was up to date.
The committee upheld the police objections however, and refused the licence.