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THREE illegal immigrants face deportation after being arrested following a raid on a Blackburn shop after a tip-off.

Two men, from Pakistan, were discovered working at Geo Superstore, in Bennington Street, Home Office enforcement officers said. After being quizzed about their right to be in the UK, both men were arrested.

A company director, however, yesterday said the men were not employees, just shoppers.

One of the men, a 29-year-old, will be detained until deportation, a Home Office spokesman said.

The other, 43, was bailed while steps were taken to remove him from the UK. Another man, also from Pakistan, was arrested later, being found at an address in Walter Street. The 36-year-old was also released until the legal process is completed.

Geo Superstore, which describes itself as a ‘family convenience store’ on its website, could face a fine of up to £20,000 if it cannot prove the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.

But director Basharat Asad said he did not know either of the men. “One was shopping, and one was buying meat. Neither worked here,” he said.

“The officers asked if I had paperwork for my employees, and I supplied photocopies of their passports.

Home Office immigration enforcement lead for Lancashire, Karen McDonough, said: “Illegal working defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers of employment. Those who break the law face financial penalties.

“I urge members of the public with specific information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”