Enforcement officers who raided a property in west London found eleven illegal immigrants after a ‘beds in sheds’ crackdown this week.
Home Office Immigration Enforcement arrested eight Indian men on Monday (February 2).
Acting on intelligence, officers entered the property in Townsend Road, Southall, at 6.30am and questioned individuals about their right to be in the UK.
Officers arrested five Indian men, aged between 42 and 68, who were found to have overstayed their visas, and three, aged between 31 and 39, who had entered the country illegally. A further three Indian men, aged between 47 and 52, were found to be immigration offenders but were not arrested.
Three of the men, aged 41, 49 and 68, were detained pending removal from the UK. The remainder of those arrested, and the further three men found, were ordered to report to the Home Office regularly while steps are taken to remove them.
Housing officers also identified a number of serious breaches relating to housing standards and multiple occupation which will now result in further investigation and enforcement.
Rogue landlords are known to often target vulnerable people, placing them in overcrowded or poor quality accommodation. In some places people are living in squalid outbuildings or makeshift accommodation – known as 'beds in sheds'.
Councillor Ranjit Dheer, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for community services and safety, said: “Ealing has a strong and successful partnership with all agencies, and we recognise that by working together we can more effectively bring those people who provide unsafe accommodation to account.
“We cannot tolerate such disregard for safety. It affects the health of those accommodated and also the wellbeing of the local area as a whole, because such accommodation is often networked to anti-social behaviour and other rule breaking. It also does a disservice to those reputable landlords who work with the council and invest money to ensure they provide safe accommodation.”
Sarah Burton, head of the West London Home Office Immigration Enforcement team, said: “Operations like this show our determination to do whatever is necessary to enforce our laws against those who are in the UK illegally, working alongside partners including Ealing Council and HMRC.
“We are determined to crack down on immigration offenders and anyone found living or working here illegally is liable to being detained and removed. We will help those who wish to leave voluntarily but will enforce the removal of those who refuse.”
The operation was carried out with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Service, Ealing Council and HMRC. London Fire Brigade attended in a fire safety capacity.
Under the government’s ‘right to rent’ measures, landlords, letting agents and homeowners who let rooms must check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country if they want to avoid potentially facing a penalty of up to £3,000. The legislation is initially being implemented in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton but is being rolled out nationally later this year.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or go online.