A POPULAR restaurant could have its licence revoked after a raid uncovered a trio of suspected illegal workers.

Immigration officers found three people working illegally at Turkish restaurant Mirra in Colchester High Street last month.

As a result of the discovery, a premises licence review has been requested by Essex Police.

It is likely the review will be heard in front of Colchester Council’s licensing sub-committee in the next few weeks.

Restaurant boss Ismet Cam said the people in question had given him false identification and had not been working at the restaurant for very long.

He said: “I have been running businesses for 20 years and have never been involved in anything like this.

“I have never been in a police station for any reason.

“I am just trying to do my best and don’t know how this has happened.

“I do not support anything like that- I feel so bad.”

In documents which have been published ahead of the hearing, Essex Police’s licensing officer Alan Beckett has outlined why the review has been launched.

He said: “The grounds for review are that the crime and disorder objective of the Licensing Act has been undermined in that immigration compliance and enforcement officers of the Home Office discovered disqualified persons working illegally on the premises.

“The statutory crime prevention objective in the 2003 Act includes the prevention of immigration crime and the prevention of illegal working in licensed premises.

“In particular, employing a person who is disqualified from work by reason of their immigration status is a criminal activity which, according to the Home Office guidance to the Licensing Act 2003, should be treated particularly seriously.

   “On Friday, June 14 immigration officers executed a search warrant at the venue.

“As part of their inquiries three illegal workers were identified, two in the kitchen and one was waiting staff.

“Two of the suspects were arrested and the third released pending inquiries into his immigration status.

“A notice warning of a resultant civil penalty has been issued.”

Permission for the restaurant was granted in 2016 and it eventually replaced the family-run Bobby Swift bookmakers in the High Street serving classic Turkish cuisine.

Councillors will have to decide if a sanction is necessary.