Sixteen illegal workers have been caught following a series of coordinated operations by Home Office Immigration Enforcement in Chippenham, Pewsey and Trowbridge.

Officers working with Wiltshire Police simultaneously went to three Tale of Spice restaurants at 7.40pm on Friday, April 4, after receiving information that they were employing staff with no right to work in the UK.

In a statement the Home Office said that 16 Bangladeshi nationals were found.

• At the Chippenham restaurant in Malmesbury Road: Six men were arrested. Four, aged between 28 and 35, had overstayed their visas, a 25-year-old had entered the country illegally and a 30-year-old was working in breach of his visa conditions.

• At the Pewsey restaurant in North Street: Two men, aged 23 and 27, were arrested for overstaying their visas. Four other men, aged between 30 and 64, had overstayed their visas but were not arrested. They were escorted from the premises and told not to return to work.

• And at the Trowbridge restaurant in Castle Street. Four men were arrested. Three, aged 27, 38 and 49, had overstayed their visas, and a 28-year-old was working in breach of his visa conditions.

Seven of those arrested were transferred to immigration detention pending removal from the UK.

The remaining five, and the four men not arrested at the Pewsey restaurant, were placed on immigration bail while their cases are progressed.

The businesses were served notices warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker found will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.

This is a potential total of up to £60,000 each for the Chippenham and Pewsey restaurants, and £40,000 for the Trowbridge establishment.

Investigations are continuing to determine the ownership of the restaurants.

Kenny Chapman, head of the South West Home Office Immigration Enforcement team, said: “This coordinated operation shows that we have the resource, dedication and expertise to catch and remove anyone in Wiltshire abusing our immigration laws.

“Employers who use illegal labour are defrauding the taxpayer, undercutting genuine employers and denying legitimate job hunters work.

“We’re happy to work with employers who want to play by the rules but those which continue to flout them will face heavy financial penalties.

“I would urge anyone with detailed and specific information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can visit or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can go to or call the employers' helpline on 0300 123 4699.