Licence review after suspected illegal workers found in Bromley

An urgent licensing review of a Bromley borough restaurant is set to take place next week after a sting by immigration authorities revealed suspected illegal workers and 25 “clearly occupied” beds crammed into the premises.

Bromley’s licensing sub-committee will be tasked with deciding the outcome for Shampan at The Spinning Wheel, an Indian restaurant at Westerham, following a joint investigation which resulted in a search of the premises.

Immigration authorities, alongside Bromley Council and police, conducted the joint visit in March after a tip-off that foreign nationals were illegally working and living at the site.

Authorities’ suspicions were aroused after a man was arrested in January on suspicion of attempting to defraud multiple people.

It was subsequently discovered he had overstayed his visa which expired in 2012, and was allegedly working at Shampan, with immigration services suspecting more illegal workers were employed there.

Documents attached to the case by immigration authorities state there were at least seven bedrooms at the premises, with each room containing up to four beds, “most of which appear to be used as permanent living spaces”.

All occupants appeared to be foreign male nationals, documents state.

“When staff in the restaurant were asked if people live at the location and if there are bedrooms at the restaurant, they stated there is nobody living (there)…(they said) that there are few rooms where staff ‘rest during their one-two hour breaks’. It is clear that a large number of people are living full time at the location,” the document states.

Immigration officers identified four staff members of the restaurant who they suspected of working illegally in the UK.

Documents lodged by Bromley Council’s licensing team state there were a total of 25 beds across the seven bedrooms.

“These were clearly occupied overnight with suitcases, wardrobes and drawers full of clothes and toiletries in every shower room,” the report states.

Images attached to the report show rooms crammed with bunk beds, while the report states ashtrays filled with cigarettes presented a fire hazard to those living there.

Billing itself as an award-winning chain of Indian restaurants, the Westerham branch is one of three Shampan outlets in the borough of Bromley.

Bromley’s licensing sub-committee will now be tasked with making a decision, which could involve stripping the business’s licence.

The sub-committee is set to meet on Wednesday, June 24.

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