Four County Durham and Darlington businesses have been fined a collective £50,000 after they were found to be employing illegal workers.

Fortune Palace on Hope Street in Crook, Pizza Rio on Lombard Place in Chester Le Street, Rose & Lime Indian in Darlington, and Royal Chef on Manor Road in St Helen Auckland, were listed on the Government's website as companies that have been fined for illegal worker offences.

Read more: County Durham businesses fined by Government for using illegal workers

The revelation comes as part of the Government's quarterly round-up of companies that have had penalties issued for the use of illegal workers.

According to the data - which is updated every three months - the two businesses that have been caught have been fined £10,000 and £20,000 respectively.

The Home Office releases the data into the public record four times per year, and the latest data relates to the period of January to March 2023.

The businesses that have been fined for employing illegal workers are: 

  • Fortune Palace (Juan Ying Zheng), 8 Hope Street, Crook, Durham, DL15 9HS - fined £20,000
  • Royal Chef (Nrc (St Helen) Ltd), 53 Manor Road, St Helen Auckland, Bishop Auckland, DL14 9ER - fined £10,000
  • Pizza Rio (Pizza Rio Ltd), 11 Lombard Place, Front Street, Chester-le-Street, Durham, DH3 4QP - fined £10,000
  • Rose & Lime Indian Restaurant (Rose & Lime Ltd), 24-26 Bondgate, Darlington, DL3 7JJ - fined £10,000

According to the Government, there can be severe penalties for employing individuals who do not have the right to work. says: "You can be sent to jail for 5 years and pay an unlimited fine if you’re found guilty of employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK.

This includes, for example, if you had any reason to believe that:

  • They did not have leave (permission) to enter or remain in the UK
  • Their leave had expired
  • They were not allowed to do certain types of work
  • Their papers were incorrect or false