Illegal immigrant hid from police in restaurant toilet as kitchen raided

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A Sudanese chef working illegally in Durham hid from police in a toilet when his kitchen was raided by immigration officials.

The man, who tried to claim asylum after arriving in the UK concealed in a lorry, also tried to hide his uniform in a bin when officers arrived at Lebaneat, in North Bailey.

Details of the investigation into the business were revealed in papers prepared for members of Durham County Council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee.

According to an account of the raid in August: “On seeing officers he left the kitchen and ran to a toilet locking the door behind him when police knocked on the door he opened it but had changed out of his chefs clothing the police officer located the uniform hidden under paper towels at the bottom of the waste paper bin in the toilet [sic].”

As well as the North Bailey restaurant, the Lebaneat chain also runs Lebaneat Wrap House, in Claypath, and Lebaneat Express, in Young Street.

Councillors were due to meet on Tuesday to consider an application licence and designated premises supervisor (DPS) at Lebaneat Wrap House.

This would have seen Ahmed Syed named DPS at the Claypath restaurant and made premises licence holder in his capacity as sole company director of Lebaneat (Wrap House) Limited.

But the application was withdrawn late on Monday meaning it was axed from the committee’s agenda.

It followed a failed bid in September by the business to vary its premises licence and DPS.

According to a letter to councillors from Durham Constabulary, officers said they thought they intervention was justified by the ‘exceptional circumstances’ of finding four illegal workers at two Lebaneat sites – two at the North Bailey restaurant and two at Lebaneat Wraphouse, in Claypath.

There was no suggestion in the reports that illegal workers had been found at Lebaneat Express.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service