Workers at South African shop 'treated like animals' in immigration raid (From This Is Local London)
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Workers at South African shop in Kingston 'treated like animals' in immigration raid
Workers at a specialist South African food shop have claimed they were treated “like animals” during a raid by police and immigration officials last Tuesday.
Shaun Powell, 29, butcher at Bizzi B’s in Surbiton Road, Kingston, said: “They just came storming in unannounced. They basically just told us to put our things down and rounded us up like animals.
“They didn’t tell us who they were or what they were doing here. Very little information was given.
“We were told under no circumstances to even think about running, because we would be taken down, and taken down hard.
“The way we were treated was disgusting.”
Colleague Jason Chappell, 20, said: “They lined us all up. No explanation.
“Everyone was kind of panicking and shaking, and we didn’t know what to do.
“He told us, ‘If you are going to run I will take you down hard.’ It was very all in your face.”
Manager Andrew Duncan, said: “About three of them marched through, saying, ‘Is there anyone in the back?’”
He added: “It was like a drug bust.”
But the manager of Londis, just a few doors away, who asked not to be named, said there were no problems with officials who came into his shop and they were not rude.
Chief Inspector Gary Taylor, of Kingston police, said: “Entry to any property is recorded locally. We do many joint operations with [the UK Border Agency] in order to determine persons not legally in the UK.
“We have to be mindful of safety of all the officers and therefore this part of any inspection can appear robust. I would hope that with this robustness comes politeness.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “These were police-led visits under Operation Condor, which is designed to clampdown on abuses by license holders in commercial premises.
“No suspected immigration offenders were encountered.”
Plans for a fleet of advertising vans displaying the message “Go home or face arrest” were scrapped this week after a test run in parts of the capital.
Home Secretary Theresa May said they were “too blunt an instrument”.
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