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    Norfolk shop loses licence after raid finds illegal worker

    Bunwell Village Stores in Bunwell Street. (Photo: Google Maps via LDRS)

    By Owen Sennitt, Local Democracy Reporter

    A shop owner has lost his licence after a raid found a man was working there illegally.

    Immigration enforcement officers visited Bunwell Village Stores in south Norfolk in June following a tip-off which led to a 28-year-old man being arrested on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.

    It prompted the Home Office to request South Norfolk Council to review the shop’s licence.

    Store owner Sivapalan Jeyavinothan, who also runs two others in Norwich, attempted to persuade councillors at the Licensing and Gambling Acts Committee meeting on Wednesday (October 4) that he took pity on the man after he called out of the blue and asked for a job, stating that he was currently homeless.

    It was claimed he refused to employ the man until he produced his passport – which was apparently left in London with his sister.

    But he was allowed to stay in a flat Mr Jeyavinothan owned next door for a week before the immigration raid took place and that he was doing odd jobs in the shop in return for room and board.

    Licencing consultant Graham Hopkins, who represented Mr Jeyavinothan, said: “He accepts he made a mistake but it was done out of the goodness of his heart.”

    However, the story soon unravelled.

    During the raid, the man was found behind the counter wearing a Premier Stores company shirt.

    The worker told officers he had been working there for two to three months and was paid £1,300 per month for five 10-hour shifts a week.

    Immigration officer Clapham also revealed they had received intelligence about the illegal worker in April before carrying out the raid two months later.

    Mr Hopkins pleaded that Mr Jeyavinothan was “shown sympathy” due to his otherwise clean record and that his actions were done out of compassion.

    But South Norfolk councillors sided with the Home Office’s view that he had knowingly employed an illegal worker and decided to revoke his notice entirely.

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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