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An Indian restaurant where staff were found ‘living in squalor’ has had its licence to operate revoked.
Licensing chiefs at Bolton Council said they had ‘no confidence’ in those running the India Gate, in Chorley Road, Westhoughton.
The restaurant was raided by immigration officers and Bolton Council in November 2018 following a tip off that a number of foreign nationals were working illegally.
Two men were arrested for working in breach of their visa conditions and overstaying their visa.
The local authority discovered evidence of at least five people living in unsafe conditions in upstairs bedrooms, which had been left in disrepair, with inadequate fire safety measures and bedrooms padlocked from the outside.
Among those living there was one of the men arrested for immigration offences.
The restaurant was issued a £10,000 fine because the detained men had no permission to work in the UK.
The company that ran the restaurant, Chan Restaurant Ltd, including owner and director Heron Ali and business partner, company secretary Nazmul Hussain, were then hauled before court for having illegal accommodation.
Fines issued at the hearing in November last year amounted to more than £10,000.
Subsequently the Home Office petitioned for a licensing review into the premises.
At a council hearing last week Mr Ireland, representing Mr Ali from the restaurant, said: “We are accepting there is wrongdoing, we don’t seek to argue at any point during our defence that there hasn’t been, what our issue with is about the proportionality of the net effect, the result.
“My client has had these fines, he has not employed a solicitor to fight them. He has said ‘I have done something wrong, I haven’t appreciated how serious that was and I now understand that’.
“He has struggled to pay these fines but he has paid them because he is accepting the penalty for what he has done. But he has to fight this because if the licence goes away he loses the business, the whole thing is over.
“He is saying that it is going too far both for him and indeed his staff who lose their jobs."
Mr Johns, representing the Home Office, said: “Mr Ali mentioned he had turned a blind eye, he’s admitted his wrongdoing and that he has made that conscious decision to employ the illegal workers, not only that but the wider concern of housing in squalid conditions which is unacceptable.”
The licensing committee published its decision to revoke the licence this week.
It stated; ” We found that the employment of illegal workers and the housing of these and other workers in squalid conditions to be wholly unacceptable and clearly undermined the licensing objective of the prevention of crime and disorder.
“We had no confidence in the management team’s ability to promote the prevention of crime and disorder.”
India Gate will now be forced to close and will not be able to reopen unless Mr Ali, or another potential owner, obtains a new licence from the council.