Councillors to decide fate of Momtaz restaurant after illegal workers found

The restaurant in Coombe Road. (Image: Google)

The restaurant in Coombe Road. (Image: Google)

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

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 (4)

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11:14am Wed 19 Mar 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

If this local council believes that it can effectively close down a business that is caught employing illegals, it raises one big question. Why have other councils not done this over the last few years? It would have had a fantastic effect on illegal workers if this could be done every time.
If this local council believes that it can effectively close down a business that is caught employing illegals, it raises one big question. Why have other councils not done this over the last few years? It would have had a fantastic effect on illegal workers if this could be done every time. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 1

7:01pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Beverly RA says...

I suppors that this calls in to question the integrity of the Licences holder as a law abiding citizen with no Criminal Record that i understand the Police check on when anyone applies for a licence
I suppors that this calls in to question the integrity of the Licences holder as a law abiding citizen with no Criminal Record that i understand the Police check on when anyone applies for a licence Beverly RA
  • Score: 1

12:40pm Fri 21 Mar 14

Parkerjsmith says...

Looks cool, I never knew you could post about it, good to know thanks! You show very latest and important things. This is very nice post! I will bookmark this blog.Let us know about myself
Looks cool, I never knew you could post about it, good to know thanks! You show very latest and important things. This is very nice post! I will bookmark this blog.Let us know about myself Parkerjsmith
  • Score: -1

6:16pm Thu 27 Mar 14

londonbound says...

Hove Ex-Pat wrote:
If this local council believes that it can effectively close down a business that is caught employing illegals, it raises one big question. Why have other councils not done this over the last few years? It would have had a fantastic effect on illegal workers if this could be done every time.
I hear this, and others, simply came about through the good relationship Kingston borough police have with immigration...someth
ing others don't have and as a result the council does not have reviews from them.
[quote][p][bold]Hove Ex-Pat[/bold] wrote: If this local council believes that it can effectively close down a business that is caught employing illegals, it raises one big question. Why have other councils not done this over the last few years? It would have had a fantastic effect on illegal workers if this could be done every time.[/p][/quote]I hear this, and others, simply came about through the good relationship Kingston borough police have with immigration...someth ing others don't have and as a result the council does not have reviews from them. londonbound
  • Score: 1

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