Five illegal immigrants held in Baxenden car wash swoop

First published in Baxenden

FIVE illegal immigrants were arrested after the car wash they were working at was raided.

Bosses at Baxenden Auto Wash now face fines of up to £50,000 after illegal workers were found among staff for the second time in months.

Officials from the UK Border Agency said five Pakistani men were seized, all of whom were working illegally at the site in Manchester Road, between Baxenden and Rising Bridge.

Car wash boss Amar Mahmood, 33, told the Lancashire Telegraph that he was ‘just trying to make an honest living’.

But the Border Agency said he is set to be fined heavily.

The organisation revealed that Mahmood was fined £15,000 in August after three illegal immigrants were found to be working at the business in a previous raid.

UK Border Agency officials visited the car wash on Friday at 5.15pm.

A spokesman said five out of the seven workers who were present were arrested.

He said: "Two men aged 35 and 24 were found to have overstayed their visas.

"A 29-year-old failed asylum seeker who was also encountered working illegally was detained and is due to be removed from the UK.

“Two men, both aged 23, who had entered the UK as students, were found working in excess of the 20 hours allowed by their visas.

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"One was detained pending his removal from the UK, the other was released temporarily whilst UKBA consider his case."

Mahmood, of Marston Street, Accrington, said he had run Baxenden Auto Wash for the past five years. He said he is disputing the fine he received in August.

He said he was shocked by the raids and claimed that he had been given faked paperwork by the people he was employing.

He said: "I am trying to make an honest living and I wouldn't employ someone who didn't have the correct paperwork."

He said the officials spent two hours at the site checking and verifying paperwork before detaining the workers.

Mahmood added: "They came at around 5.15pm on Friday and were here until about 7.30pm.

"I'm running a business and it's hard enough as it is. I know they were only doing their job but they made a scene. Luckily there were no customers in."

Mahmood said he usually had around three or four men working for him at any one time.

He added: "Business is steady but the effect on the business will only become apparent in the next couple of weeks. And now I'm short staffed."

The UK Border Agency said the owner of the car wash may face a fine of up to £50,000 for employing illegal workers.

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