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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2007, 16:25 GMT
Raids target 'immigration abuse'
Police have arrested 70 men in an operation targeting abuses of the immigration system.

Searches are being carried out at 22 sites in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Ellesmere Port, Sheffield and Kent.

Operation Chalice, headed by Merseyside Police, also involved the Department for Work and Pensions and the UK Immigration Service.

Of the premises raided, 10 were restaurants, including the Shere Khan in Rusholme, Manchester.

Homes searched

Residential and business properties were also searched in Greater Manchester.

Kent Police said it executed search warrants at premises in the Bluewater shopping centre on Friday night and five men were arrested.

Police said 20 of the 70 arrests were made at two restaurants on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme - known locally as "the curry mile".

Police arrested 13 men at a restaurant in the Trafford Centre, Manchester and a further 7 at a restaurant and takeaway in the shopping centre.

Seven men were arrested at a restaurant at Cheshire Oaks Outlet Village in Ellesmere Port, nine men at two restaurants in Liverpool and one at Sheffield's Meadowhall shopping centre.

Later on Saturday, police said a further seven residential addresses in Greater Manchester and Liverpool were being searched by officers.

'Lengthy investigation'

Other arrests were made in Rochdale, Hale Barns and Altrincham. Det Supt Steve Moore, of Merseyside Police, said the developments were the "result of a lengthy investigation into abuse of the immigration system".

He added: "We have been working closely with colleagues in partner agencies and as a result have arrested a large number of people for offences under the Immigration Act.

"These offences include the facilitation of illegal immigration and other offences under the Immigration Act."

The managing director of the Shere Khan Indian restaurant chain, Steve Garrity, confirmed a number of his restaurants were raided by police.

The men arrested, all aged in their 20s and 30s, are being held at police stations across England and are being interviewed by police and immigration officers.


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