A north-east restaurant owner has denied any wrongdoing after a raid at his eatery saw officials detain two men at an immigration centre.
Police and immigration enforcement officers visited the Carron to Mumbai in Stonehaven on Friday.
The Home Office said immigration checks found two Bangladeshi men, a 25-year-old – who they say was a failed asylum seeker – and a 33-year-old, described as having overstayed his visa, were in the country illegally.
The men are now in a detention centre pending their removal from the UK.
But owner Syed Abdul Hamid, known as Raj, said the men were not employed at the restaurant and had just been visiting.
He said: “I don’t know who they are. That’s for immigration to prove they were working.
“Our staff can bring anyone they want as their guest. We can 100% say these people weren’t working in the premises.
“One of them is a friend of the head chef and another is a friend of another member of staff that works part-time. One was in the kitchen and one was outside just coming in.
“Whatever happens next I’m there to tackle it because, at the end of the day, I know I haven’t done anything wrong.”
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Asked if the restaurant carries out checks on its employees, Raj, who was not present at the time of the visit on Friday, replied: “Of course we do.”
Later on Friday evening, officers also went to The Nu Spice, on Allardice Street, Stonehaven.
The Home Office said checks found another two Bangladeshi men, aged 37 and 39, had overstayed their visas. The men are also being detained in an immigration centre.
The Nu Spice – which Raj says he sold “about a year ago” – was served with a Civil Penalty Referral Notice warning it could face a fine of up to £40,000.
Sergeant Claire Smith said: “We welcome opportunities like this to work with our partners to help protect our communities by targeting immigration offenders and any people or businesses who are linked with employing them. This operation was intelligence-led and wouldn’t have been possible without the valuable information we receive from the public.
“We will continue to take further action where necessary and ask that local communities continue to support us by letting us know their concerns.”
Nu Spice was contacted for comment, but had not responded.