A RESTAURANT which is being investigated by the Home Office after illegal workers were found in its kitchen has been refused a licence to sell alcohol.

Ahmed Sayed, the owner of Lebaneat’s Wrap House, in Claypath, Durham, has made an application to transfer the premises licence to Oksana Sayed.

An application was also made for Mrs Sayed to become the designated premises supervisor (DPS), a position she holds at the business’s restaurant in North Bailey.

Durham Police objected to the application because of concerns raised following a visit by immigration officers in August.

Sergeant Caroline Dickenson told councillors that visits had been made to all of Lebaneat’s premises in Durham and illegal workers were found at all three.

PCSO Rebecca Carey, who was present at the visit to the Claypath Wrap House, said one illegal worker had been found making bread while another was hiding in a cupboard.

Mr Sayed responded by saying the men were not working. He said: “One was on an unpaid trial shift and the second one was in training and I have his documents.”

The matter is being investigated by the Home Office.

Sgt Dickenson expressed concern about Mrs Sayed’s position. She said: “How could she be DPS when it’s apparent she is not running the North Bailey premises to the standard we expect? There are illegal workers there which shows checks are not being done.”

During the meeting at Durham County Council it emerged that the premises, which has been open since 2016, had been selling alcohol without the correct licence. The previous licence holder and DPS has not been associated with the premises for two years.

Mr Sayed told members the premises had a “bring your own booze” policy, which does not require a licence, but PCSO Carey added that police had witnessed alcohol being sold on three occasions in August.

Mr Sayed said: “We are going to have more checks for all employees. We are trying to train more people to have more control.

“We’re aiming to grow the company. We don’t want any more problems.”

But despite Mr Sayed’s assurances, councillors decided to refuse the applications.

Cllr Colin Carr told him: “You do not understand licensing law, I think from what we can see and we are very concerned you are going to have a premises running that might be illegal.

The meeting heard that Mr Sayed could be fined as a result of the visit by immigration officers.

Employers can be fined up to £20,000 for each person found to be working illegally for a business.