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Thirty illegal workers arrested at textile recycling factory

Officers have arrested 30 illegal immigrants at a Nottinghamshire textiles recycling factory during a targeted Home Office operation.

Acting on intelligence, Home Office immigration enforcement officers, along with HMRC officers, visited the Savanna Rags International factory in Mansfield and questioned staff over their rights to work in the UK.

The officers arrested 27 men and three women aged between 23 and 54, who were found to be in the UK illegally.

The arrests included 21 Ghanaians, six Indians, two Nigerians and one person from Niger.

It was found that 26 had overstayed their visa, three had entered the UK illegally and one had obtained leave to remain by deception.

Five of those arrested were detained pending removal from the UK. The remaining 25 were placed on immigration bail while action is taken to remove them from the country.

Savanna Rags International will be served a notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker arrested will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.

This means a potential total penalty of up to £300,000.

The textiles company is a member of the Textiles Recycling Association (TRA).

Alan Wheeler, director of the TRA said: “Before admitting an applicant to our association, they are required to demonstrate that they meet a number of key requirements, all of which are published on our website. 

“This includes holding a waste carriers licence for at least one year, compulsory employers liability insurance and public liability insurance. They are also required to demonstrate that they pay rates, have a health and safety policy and have undertaken a fire risk assessment. 

“In addition, the TRA has a code of practice which amongst other things requires all members to trade in a legal and solvent manner. We also remind members of their obligations under key legal requirements including employment law and highlight changes to the law as appropriate.”

Jonathan Warburton, HMRC Taskforce leader, said: “Our taskforce is identifying those employers who operate ‘outside the system’ to avoid paying VAT, PAYE and the National Minimum Wage, which is stealing millions of pounds from local people and the UK economy.

Alison Spowage, assistant director for immigration enforcement in the East Midlands, said: “This was a large-scale operation targeting suspected illegal working in Nottinghamshire.”

Savanna Rags International declined to comment on this story.

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