Horncastle Indian restaurant worker was found hiding in a cupboard by immigration staff

The Wania Restaurant - hoping to avoid any licence  restrictions
The Wania Restaurant - hoping to avoid any licence restrictions

One of Horncastle’s most popular restaurants is hoping it will avoid any restrictions amid claims an illegal worker was found hiding in a cupboard.

Police and Immigration Officers visited the Wania Indian restaurant and takeaway in West Street on June 17.

They identified an “immigration offender” who had overstayed the time permitted on his visa.

The person was found hiding in a cupboard and was subsequently arrested.

The visit in June followed a visit by the UK Border Agency and Police in September 2012.

They were acting on an allegation that three people were being accommodated at the premises while working in the restaurant illegally.

Officers duly identified two males on site who they had concerns about, but they were unable to identify whether they were “actively working” at the time of the visit.

One of the males was suspected of working in excess of his permitted hours and another was suspected of illegal working on a visiting visa.

At the time, Border Agency Officers expressed concern at the “poor record keeping” of owner Sitab Ali.

The visit in June followed what officers described as “further intelligence.”

Lincolnshire Police have called for a review of the premises licence and a report will go before East Lindsey District Council’s Licensing sub-committee on August 28.

The committee could:

*modify the conditions of the licence

*exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence

*remove the Designated Premises Supervisor

*suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months

*revoke the licence.

The News attempted to contact Mr Ali without success.

However, a spokesman for the restaurant said they were guilty of a “genuine mistake”.

Regarding the worker found in a cupboard, he said: “We believed he had all the correct documentation.

“We weren’t aware we had done anything wrong. It is very difficult to check. We are ashamed but, it was an honest mistake.

“We have not had any problems before. We believe once the evidence is heard, there will be no punishment.”

The spokesman stressed a comprehensive system of checks were now in place.

He added: “We are a respected, reputable business. ”