CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Staff ‘traumatised’ by bungled immigration raid at Poundstretcher

Home Office confirm no action will be taken against any employees

06 September, 2018 — By William McLennan

Officers in doorway of Poundstretcher

IMMIGRATION enforcement officers shut down a discount supermarket and demanded staff hand over their details in a bungled raid that left employees “trauma­tised”.

Staff at Poundstretcher in Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, said they were shocked to find around a dozen Home Office employees in police-style uniform turned up unannounced on Saturday afternoon. The officers told staff that they had received “intelligence” that somebody was working illegally at the shop.

However, the Home Office confirmed that the checks showed everyone at the shop was legally allowed to work in the UK. They said no action was to be taken against the shop or any of the employees.

The shop’s manager told the New Journal that they had never seen or heard of the man that the immigration officers were looking for, suggesting they had come to the wrong place. The manager, who asked not to be named, said: “They were looking for someone that doesn’t work here. That person never worked here. “We told them that we have never heard of that person. They showed me a picture and I didn’t recognise him.”

She added: “They went through all of our details. I came out [of the office] and they looked at my ID too. It was scary. “There were 12 or 13 of them. For each of us there were three of four of them. It was traumatising.” Jo Siedlecka tried to enter the shop, but was blocked by a immigration officer. “The officers said they are doing a spot check and you can come back in 20 minutes.”

She added: “It was a deeply unpleasant thing to watch. “It reminded me of ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] in America, the way they are driving around looking to pick people up. “Lots of people in the street were upset. One chap was going berserk, I thought they were going to arrest him.”

The Home Office said they had obtained a warrant for the raid and were “acting on intelligence,” but would not go into further details. They said they do not carry out random spot checks.

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