Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8722 6318
Councillors to decide fate of Momtaz restaurant after illegal workers found
A shisha bar and restaurant where four people, including one who fled the Syrian civil war, were working illegally, could have its licence revoked.
Councillors will decide the fate of Momtaz, in Coombe Road, Norbiton, at a meeting next week following a series of visits by police and immigration officials.
According to police evidence officers first raided the restaurant in October last year, finding two men who appeared to be working without being entitled to UK employment.
In December four staff members including the duty manager were found to be working illegally, police told councillors.
One of the men was a refugee from Syria. He told police he had flown from Syria to Jordan, taken a boat to France and hidden in a lorry to get to the UK.
He said: “I have fled Syria because of the conflict there. I came here because I know the UK is number one in human rights and there is a better sort of life.
“I am not paid in money. I get to stay here, smoke shisha, eat food.
“I am staying in the restaurant and living here.”
In January this year, another man not entitled to work in the UK was discovered at the restaurant, police said.
But lawyers acting for licence holder Mohammed Dilbany told Kingston Council: “Our instructions are that at no time there were people employed at the premises without entitlement to work in the United Kingdom.
“Our client has an impeccable record and has never had any incidents or breached any of the terms of the premises licence.”
The men police claim were illegal workers “are friends of the duty manager and they were only visiting the premises as guests”, they added.
One neighbour wrote to the council claiming they had seen a group of people they believed to be Momtaz staff or customers smoking cannabis nearby.
Councillors will decide whether or not to revoke Momtaz’s licence at a meeting on Tuesday, March 25, at 10.30am in the Guildhall.
Comments are closed on this article.