Bestway is fuming after the UK Border Agency carried out a massive raid on its Liverpool depot but only arrested one worker – and a customer.
The agency stormed the Kingsway Park depot last week in a raid involving more than 50 police officers and dogs after a tip-off that illegal workers were working at the 80,000 sq ft site.
The agency had been “extremely heavy handed” and “made to look foolish” as only one worker, an Iraqi who Bestway itself had alerted the Home Office to, was arrested, along with a customer. “We feel very disappointed that we were not approached in a responsible manner to discuss any potential concerns and are greatly shocked that theUKBA thought a raid, from a tip-off, was an appropriate and responsible way to deal with the issue,” said Bestway legal director Dawood Pervez.
“The agency has, in a bad week for them elsewhere, been made to look foolish and must now be embarrassed by this action. We also feel they were extremely heavy handed, especially in the numbers of people and dogs involved.”
Three camera crews from various media organisations and journalists had also entered the premises without any authorisation from Bestway, he added.
The raid, which took place on the same day as the wholesaler celebrated its 35th anniversary at a black-tie event in London, had cost Bestway £70,000 in lost sales, Pervez claimed, because the depot had been forced to close for two-and-a-half hours. Business had also been “badly affected” on Friday.
“We very much object to the insinuation that we behave outside of the law,” he added. “We have raised the matter at a senior level in government and the very least we expect is a full apology from the UKBA.”
But Eddy Montgomery, operations director of the UKBA in the North West defended its actions. “This is the latest in a series of operations and more are planned,” he said.
“Businesses which operate outside the law should be warned they will be found and they will be punished.”