Indian restaurant closed down after immigration raids applies for new licence

Posh Spice was raided three times, with people found working there illegally on each occasion
Posh Spice restaurant in Nailsea was closed down after immigration raidsPosh Spice restaurant in Nailsea was closed down after immigration raids
Posh Spice restaurant in Nailsea was closed down after immigration raids

An Indian restaurant near Bristol at the centre of an immigration saga is applying for a new licence under a new owner — but police say he is “merely a front man.”

Posh Spice in Nailsea has been raided by immigration enforcement three times since June 2022, with people found working there illegally on each occasion.

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After the second raid, North Somerset Council stripped the restaurant of its licence to sell alcohol and late night refreshment on the request of the police.

Now the council has been asked by new owner Ashequl Numan to grant the restaurant a licence again.

The application states the previous owner, Golap Miah, no longer owns Posh Spice and has no business connection with Mr Numan.

The application also states: “All staff employed at the premises will have UK right to work status checked. Once passed that stage they shall be offered employment.”

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But since this application was made in August, immigration enforcement have carried out another raid on the restaurant — finding two people working there illegally on September 20.

North Somerset Council’s licensing subcommittee are set to make a decision on the application at their meeting on Thursday (October 26) — with the police and Nailsea Town Council both urging them to turn it down.

In a submission to the licensing subcommittee, police licensing officer Andy Manhire said: “The police strongly believe that the premises licence holder Mr Golap Miah still owns the business and that Mr Numan is merely a front man put forward for the purpose of obtaining a premises licence.”

In his police statement, Mr Manhire said that Mr Numan claimed there was “no money involved” in the transfer of the business, despite accepting that it would be worth tens of thousands of pounds. The police statement said that Mr Numan claimed that “Mr Golap Miah just wanted out and had gifted him the restaurant as he was no longer in the country.”

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It said that Mr Numan had claimed to have taken over the business at the end of May, but had been unable to provide the police with any documents to show this.

The police statement said an insurance certificate for the business was later given to police, valid from the day after that conversation.

Police also questioned the claim that Golap Miah had nothing to do with the business, stating that a, later withdrawn, application for a new licence had been submitted by Mr Numan in June.

This listed his uncle Mohammed Iqbal Miah as proposed designated premises supervisor — a man who claimed to be no relation to Golap Miah but who council officers said was actually his brother.

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He and Golap Miah had also been convicted of immigration offences together in 2014 and had both lived at the same home address, the police statement said. Mohammed Iqbal Miah is not listed on the current application set to go before the licensing subcommittee this week.

Mr Manhire’s police statement added that, during an immigration raid on Posh Spice in September, there was alcohol on display in the restaurant despite it having no licence — including spirits left in the disabled toilets where anyone would have had unsupervised access to them.

Food safety inspectors also investigated accommodation above the restaurant during the raid. Food and Commercial Safety Service Leader Jane Day said, in a witness statement, she was told the accommodation was used for “staff resting” but said: “Access to three of these rooms was possible and in total six beds and paraphernalia akin to living accommodation was seen.”

In his police statement, Mr Manhire said: “Police feel they have no option but to ask this committee to reject this application.”

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This was echoed by Nailsea Town Council, where the matter was discussed by their planning committee.

A statement from the town council, also included in the papers for the licensing subcommittee, said: “The committee have significant concerns that following recent raids by immigration officials, that the owners of the premises are unsuitable to hold a licence for the activities listed, as they continue to flout the UK immigration law and employ individuals who have no right to work in the UK.”

North Somerset Council’s licensing committee will decide whether to grant the licence at their meeting at Weston-super-Mare Town Hall on Thursday October 26.

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