Sheffield curry house boss spared jail

Immigration officers raid the Shapla Indiant Restaurtant in Sheffield
Immigration officers raid the Shapla Indiant Restaurtant in Sheffield
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A restaurateur has been sentenced to a suspended prison sentence after a Home Office raid discovered illegal immigrants working for him.

Abdul Malik was arrested when the Shapla Tandoori restaurant on Cumberland Street at Moorfoot in Sheffield city centre was raided on August 1 last year.

The 62-year-old faced six counts of knowingly employing adults subject to immigration control.

But the most serious charge against him was a count of attempting to assist unlawful immigration.

Mr Recorder Sandeep Kainth, sentencing him at Sheffield Crown Court, told Malik: “The method was to use forged documents, not all of which were filed by you, but there’s a letter of support on your restaurant letterhead together with a number of wage slips.

“You were no stranger to how the system worked, because in the past the Border Agency have paid you more than one visit.”

Malik, of Glen Road, Nether Edge, was fined £5,000 in 2009 after the UK Border Agency found him to be employing illegal immigrants. There were two further visits in 2012 before the final visit last August.

Recorder Kainth - who criticised Malik for shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders during the hearing - told him: “The fact that you continue to shake your head indicates to me that you have little acceptance of your offending.”

He added: “For the UK to remain a prosperous country, it is perfectly entitled to protect its borders.

“These are very serious offences, more so because of your past history with the UK Border Agency.”

Malik was sentenced to a total of nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

No evidence was offered by the prosecution in relation to his co-defendant, Shariar Kabir, aged 39, of Club Garden Road, Sharrow, and he was found not guilty.

Five arrests were made at the Shapla as part of a nationwide crackdown which aimed to set about deporting illegal immigrants.

Mark Bates, from Home Office Criminal Investigations, said: “Malik displayed a blatant disregard for the UK’s immigration laws.

“Not only did he employ people he knew had no right to be in the UK, he also assisted one of them in submitting a fraudulent application to stay here.

“Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.

“We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be made on staff, but those who break the law should know that they will be punished.”