London, Oct 7 (UNI) UK police arrested ten people in a series of raids on Indian restaurants in the country to crack down on illegal immigrant workers.
The step was taken following the inputs given by the Border and Immigration Agency intelligence.
The people involved could now face prosecution under the Immigration Act 1971 of the United Kingdom.
Police entered the restaurants at 1900 hrs as staff served the first diners of the evening. Customers said later they had seen employees being handcuffed and that many people were turned away from the premises as immigration officers questioned staff.
''It was surreal to see that happen. We saw three people in handcuffs but I don't know whether to feel sorry for them or not,'' one of the customers was quoted as saying by the Press and Journal.
Five people were arrested in Inverness and a further two at Alness. Five were detained pending removal from the UK.
A number of addresses in the Inverness area were also searched as part of the investigation, which involved officers from Northern Constabulary and the Grampian, Strathclyde and Lothian and Borders forces.
Three people were arrested in two other Indian resturants.
''The operation went well and we achieved the goals that we were looking to achieve,''Sergeant Mike Burt, who led the operation, said.
''We are disappointed that some employers are failing to heed the advice from the Border and Immigration Agency,'' he said adding that inquiries were ongoing concerning prosecution of two restaurants.
Grampian Police Inspector Paul Menzies said, ''This was a series of intelligence-led, co-ordinated visits to tackle immigration crime.'' ''Inquiries are continuing to assess the evidence for criminal offences and, if sufficient evidence exists, a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal,'' Mr Menzies said.
Seven people and three Indian companies have been charged with employing staff illegally.
After the raids, three people were sent to await deportation at the Dungavel immigration removal centre, while eight others were released subject to reporting conditions.