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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Cumbrian takeaway was hub for illegal immigrants

A Chinese takeaway was a hub for the employment of illegal immigrants, a court heard.

Ping Shen   photo
Ping Shen

Bosses of the Pearl Garden Chinese takeaway, in Maryport, were warned three times by Border Agency officials about the way they repeatedly gave jobs to people who had no right to be in this country. They even had to pay nearly £40,000 in civil penalties when they were found to be taking no notice of the warnings.

Yesterday the most recent manager of the restaurant was given a suspended prison sentence at Carlisle Crown Court after she pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching immigration laws.

The court heard that 45-year-old Ping Shen was “put to work” at the restaurant – and even told who her boyfriend should be – by the people who had encouraged here to come to Britain as an illegal immigrant after being hounded out of China because of the stigma of being an unmarried mother.

Shen – who as a child only ever had two years education because her parents were so poor – still can’t speak English and needed an interpreter to assist her in court.

The court was told that even as manager she had been poorly paid, and lived a lonely existence in the flat above the restaurant in Wood Street, Maryport.

Shen pleaded guilty to two charges - brought under the 1971 Immigration Act – of assisting unlawful immigration by offering employment to people who were not EU citizens.

She claimed not to have known that the people sent to work for her were illegal immigrants.

Shen was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and made to do 100 hours unpaid community work.

She was also put under a curfew to keep her indoors from midnight to 6am every night for four months.

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