Five suspected illegal immigrants have been arrested and £15,000 seized during a series of Home Office raids in Croydon. The raids took place last Tuesday (May 28) and found the suspects, all of different nationalities, had overstayed their visas. Home Office immigration enforcement officers, acting on intelligence, arrested a 31-year-old Pakistani man and a 25-year-old Afghan man at Game On, in George Street, Croydon. During the subsequent search of the Pakistani national's home in Eastney Road, officers found more than £15,000 in cash hidden in suitcases. Officers seized the money under Proceeds of Crime Act powers. The raids continued at Babylon Inn, North End, with the arrest of a 24-year-old Chinese man for overstaying his visa. Finally, officers moved to The Gold Coast Bar and Restaurant on Portland Road, South Norwood, where they found two women staying illegally in the country. A 24-year-old Kenyan had overstayed her visa and a 34-year-old Ghanaian had entered the country illegally. Apart from the Pakistani, those arrested have been placed in immigration detention, pending their removal from the UK. The Pakistani man has been placed on immigration bail while steps are taken to remove him. Fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker can be levelled at the businesses the correct right-to-work checks can be proved as having taken place. Gold Coast and Game On could therefore be hit with fines of up to £20,000, while Babylon Inn could face a £10,000 penalty. Jill Smith, from the Home Office Immigration Enforcement team in South London, said: "These arrests show that we will leave no stone unturned in our search for illegal workers. The message is clear. Those who are in the country illegally will be arrested and removed. "Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work. "The impressive cash seizure demonstrates our officers' ability to find more than just immigration offenders. "While we are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be done on staff, those who do break the law should know that we are out there looking for them and they will face heavy fines. "I would urge members of the public with information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch."
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