A RESTAURANT in Trowbridge may have to pay an £80,000 fine after Immigration Enforcement officers found four illegal workers on the premises.

The Cinnamon Lounge in Silver Street was visited by officers on Saturday, where a 29-year-old and a 31-year-old were detained pending removal from the UK, and an 18-year-old and a 59-year-old were ordered to report to Immigration Enforcement as their cases continue.

Restaurant manager Mohammed Hussain said he is devastated after making an “honest mistake”.

He said: “I was in Bristol a few weeks ago to buy catering equipment from Nisbits and after I’d been there two guys started talking to me in the street.

“They asked me if I could help them because they didn’t have any food and I felt sad so I gave them my phone number.

“Two days later they called me and said they needed help. I felt sad so told them to get the train to Trowbridge and said they could stay above the restaurant where there are a few empty rooms until they found somewhere else.

“On Saturday they asked if they could help me out by working at the restaurant because I had helped them.

“I was at the Lunch Box renovating it to become Peri Peri Box and Saturday is always busy for us so I said yes.

“It’s just unfortunate that the officers came on that day.”

Mr Hussain said the two men he let stay above the restaurant were the 29-year-old and 31-year-old, while the 18-year-old and 59-year-old have worked for him for a number of months but do not have permits to work in the UK.

“The checks expected of people like myself are very hard,” added Mr Hussain.

“We have been so busy lately and sometimes it’s hard to keep on top of things.

“I feel very disappointed and the last few days have been very tough mentally but hopefully people will realise I just made a mistake because I wanted to help people who needed it and I hope they forgive me.”

The restaurant has been served with a notice warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker may be imposed on the employer unless evidence is provided that appropriate right to work document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document.

This afternoon, Mr Hussain opened up a new healthy eating restaurant in Fore Street, Peri Peri Box, and also hopes to open up a cookies and cream parlour next to British Heart Foundation in June.