THE owner of an Indian restaurant has been allowed to keep his licence despite an illegal immigrant found to be working at the premises.

In July, a joint enforcement agency operation was carried out at Sweet Chilli in Bridge Street, Hereford at 8pm on a Friday night.

The restaurant was open and officers from the UK immigration agency and the police attended.

They discovered a man from Bangladesh, who was working as a waiter, had overstayed his permission to remain in the country and was arrested as an illegal immigrant.

Police requested a review of the licence, which is held by Abtal Hussain.

Herefordshire Council's Licensing Sub-Committee heard the restaurant had a licence to serve late night refreshment from Monday to Sunday from 11pm to 1am, and to sell alcohol Monday to Sunday between 12pm and 1am.

The licence holder was not at the sub-committee meeting and he had not had any contact with the police or the licensing authority. A notice that the meeting was taking place had been hand-delivered to the restaurant.

The restaurant had a sign in its window saying it was going to be closed on Monday. The meeting heard that the restaurant had been closed last week.

The committee said that as they were not aware there had been any previous incidents at the premises, it would be appropriate to add a further licensing condition, instead of removing the licence.

The premises licence holder must employ an immigration advisor to undertake a review on all existing employees at the premises and check their entitlement to live and work in the UK. Any employee must be checked in the future before starting work at the restaurant.