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Immigration officers swoop to arrest Albanian man at hand car wash in Herne Bay

By Aidan Barlow

Immigration officers swooped on a town centre car wash and detained a man on suspicion of entering the country illegally.

The raid took place at 9am this morning as two vans were seen turning and blocking the entrance into the Herne Bay Hand Car Wash on the corner of Avenue Road and Pier Avenue.

Herne Bay Hand Car Wash & Valet Centre where a man was detained on suspicion of entering the country illegally

Workers were told to down tools and were taken into the building while their documents were checked, and a 31-year-old man from Albania was held.

The man could now face deportation, and his bosses could also face a £20,000 fine for employing him. They have been served with a civil penalty notice.

Nicky Drew witnessed the raid this morning. She said: “Two vans went there this morning and went to close off the exits.

Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers swooped in. Picture by Charlotte-grace Thysson

“The officers went up to a guy that was cleaning one of the cars and took the water hose off him. They rounded everybody up really quickly and took them inside.

“I do use that car wash, and thought it was run quite well. I have never heard any rumours or anything about them employing illegal immigrants.”

When visited by the Gazette this morning the company made no comment.

Home Office spokeswoman Catherine Ellis said: “Illegal working is not victimless. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers, and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.

The men were arrested as part of an operation targeting suspected illegal working within the construction industry. Stock picture

"We would urge members of the public with information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”

She added that detailed and specific information about suspected illegal immigration can be submitted to the Home Office by visiting www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime or calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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