A KEBAB shop which substituted wages for an illegal worker with cigarettes has been fined thousands of pounds by the government.

New figures published by the Home Office have revealed a convenience store and a kebab shop in the Maldon district have been fined a total of £30,000.

Londis Country Produce, in Latchingdon Road, Cold Norton, and Maldon King Kebab, in High Street, Maldon, have been fined £15,000 each.

The data is released to the public every three months and the latest figures relate to penalties issued between April 1 and June 30 this year.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Shamed - Maldon King Kebab, in High Street, MaldonShamed - Maldon King Kebab, in High Street, Maldon (Image: Google)

Four men, all Turkish nationals, were detained after a visit to Maldon King Kebab by immigration officers in January this year.

The arrests led to Maldon District Council revoking the kebab shop’s late-night refreshment licence after an application by Essex Police.

The owner of the kebab shop, Mehmet Gilgil, pleaded with the authority’s licensing sub-committee not to remove his late-night licence, stating it would have a severe impact on his income as much of the shop’s trade was after 11pm.

Ronan McManus, senior licensing officer for Essex Police, told the sub-committee a 19-year-old Turkish man had been “paid in cigarettes”.

He said: “On Sunday, January 29 this year immigration officers attended the premises and found four Turkish nationals working illegally at the premises.

“Two of these young men have entered [the UK] illegally and had appealed to remain which had been refused. For the remaining two, there was no trace of them having entered the country at all. The only other assumption to make is that they’ve also entered the country illegally.”

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Fined - the Londis store in Latchingdon Road, Cold Norton, was also penalisedFined - the Londis store in Latchingdon Road, Cold Norton, was also penalised (Image: Google)

He added that revoking the licence would send a clear message that illegal working would not be tolerated.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Gilgil insisted the 19-year-old man had bought the cigarettes himself and was visiting from Turkey and not working in the shop despite wearing a Maldon King Kebab branded t-shirt and being found in a food preparation area.

“He admitted to working at the business and that on the day he was arrested he had been brought to work by the owner and was not paid in money but in cigarettes and food,” Mr McManus responded.

Londis and Maldon King Kebab were approached for comment.