UK Border Agency officers got more than they bargained for when they raided a clothing shop in Bradford – an under floor search for an illegal worker attempting to evade capture.
Acting on intelligence, officers visited Janan Clothing, Shearbridge Road, on Sunday 10 February following allegations that a security guard was working there illegally.
After trying for an hour to enter the building without success officers covering back exits noticed a light being turned off, confirming suspicions somebody was hiding inside. The owner was contacted who let the team into the building.
Further investigations revealed the man they had come to arrest – a 24-year-old Pakistani – was hiding between floor boards and the foundations of the building. He remained there despite verbal commands to come out in both English and Urdu.
Eventually two immigration officers entered the void space, which was around five feet wide and two and half feet high, and crawled for nearly two minutes until they found the man hiding next to a wall.
After establishing he was not armed they led him out of the void before arresting him. He had overstayed his visa and was placed in immigration detention while the UK Border Agency progresses his case.
The business was served a notice warning a penalty of up to £10,000 will be imposed unless proof is provided to the UK Border Agency that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.
Ian Milner, from the UK Border Agency, said:
‘This was an unusual operation and shows the lengths to which some people will go to try to avoid detection by our officers.
‘But thanks to the patience and determination of the two officers who entered the void, we were able to arrest this individual.
‘Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.
‘We carry out regular operations such as this across the region. We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be done on staff, but those who do break the law should know that we are out there looking for them and they will face heavy financial penalties.’