Sunderland family face deportation after dad was caught working at chip shop

Sukhjinder Singh and wife Gurpreet Kaur.
Sukhjinder Singh and wife Gurpreet Kaur.

A family face deportation from the UK after the dad was caught working in a chip shop using a fake identity document.

Sukhjinder Singh produced a photocopy of a forged residence permit when confronted by immigration enforcement officers during his shift at Gills Fry, in Blackwood Road, Town End Farm, Sunderland, in September 2015.

Gills Fry.

Gills Fry.

The 33-year-old admitted possessing a false identity document with improper intention and has been jailed for six months, which he will be immediately released from due to time served on remand.

His wife, Gurpreet Kaur, 28, admitted a charge of possessing the document, which she knew was in the family home, but it is accepted she made no use of it.

She was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the arrests sparked an investigation into the couple, of Cleveland Road, Sunderland, who have two British-born young children together, and exposed them both as being in the country illegally.

A judge declined to recommend the couple's deportation at Tuesday's sentence hearing but said the Secretary of State could still order their removal.

The court heard Singh arrived in the UK from Montego Bay in 2002 and was later refused asylum but absconded from the authorities and remained without permission.

His wife Kaur arrived in the UK in 2009 on a student visa, which expired in 2010, but she also remained without permission.

Prosecutor David Crook told the court the couple are both "Indian nationals who are illegally present in the UK, with no leave to remain" but who have both now made official applications to stay in the UK.

Mr Crook added: "Both defendants are currently considered to be removable from the UK but no action to be taken pending the outcome of those outstanding applications."

Richard Bennett, defending, said Indian regulations mean the couple's two children would not be entitled to citizenship in that country as they have never been there.

He said: "If not registered within a five-year period, then a person/child is not an Indian national."

Mr Bennett said Kaur is an "excellent mother", Singh is a hard-working father and neither have committed any other criminal offences while in the UK illegally.

Judge Simon Batiste told the couple: "I have considered whether to make a deportation application in this case.

"I have carefully looked at the authorities with regard to that.

"Given the period of time you have spent in the United Kingdom and the lack of other offences committed during that period of time, I decline to make such a recommendation.

"I make it clear, however, that the Secretary of State may still apply for your deportation."

The judge said he had considered references from friends who know the couple and from the temple they attend while making his decisions.