A LATE-NIGHT refreshment licence at a Maldon kebab takeaway has been revoked after an immigration raid found illegal workers – one of whom they claims they were paid in cigarettes and food.

The decision from Maldon District Council's licensing committee came after four men, all Turkish nationals, were arrested following immigration officers’ visit to Maldon King Kebab on Sunday, January 29 this year.

A report in front of councillors, who have published their decision following a meeting on June 15, revealed of the four other men, a 19-year-old arrived in the UK on July 9, 2020, illegally and made a claim for asylum on the same date. This was refused on August 15, 2022.

An appeal was lodged against this refusal on August 18, 2022, which is still pending.

He has not been granted permission to work in the United Kingdom and was found wearing a Maldon King Kebab branded shirt in the kitchen and food preparation area.

The report said he admitted to working at the business, and that on the day of his arrest he claimed he had been brought to work by the owner and that he was not paid in money, but in “cigarettes and food”.

A 23-year-old arrived in the UK by small boat on May 1, 2022, and made a claim for asylum on the same date which remains outstanding.

The two others – a 22-year-old and 23-year-old – have never had permission to work in the United Kingdom but were wearing Maldon King Kebab branded shirts at the time of the raid.

Essex Police argued anything other than a full revocation is insufficient as a deterrent.

Ronan McManus, senior licensing officer for Essex Police, said: “We would seek that the late-night refreshment is revoked entirely.

"That’s a balance that the premises can still operate and create support for the staff that are there. But also sends a message that illegal working cannot be tolerated.

“We need to make a stand because people coming into this country illegally have in the past been working for no payment.

"There’s no protection under the law for illegal workers and as we found here that one of the 19-year-old males was being paid in cigarettes.

“So there was no protection, there’s no minimum wage there’s no protection for these individuals that have come to our country.”

A statement from Maldon District Council said: “The decision of the Licensing Sub-Committee resolved that the licence for the provision of late-night refreshment at Maldon King Kebab is revoked.”

The owner of Maldon King Kebab refused to comment on the decision.