Immigration officers raided the Istanbul Fast Food takeaway in Hawick on Thursday night (February 8) arresting three men.

And the business owner will now be served with a referral notice over the alleged immigration breach and may be fined up to £20,000 per illegal worker unless it can be shown that appropriate right-to-work documentation checks were carried out.

A 25-year-old and a 32-year-old are alleged to have overstayed their student visas while another 32-year-old man is suspected of entering the UK illegally.

Enforcement officials visited premises in Hawick, as well as fast food outlets in Larkhall and Hamilton during the intelligence-led operation.

Ian Tyldesley, from Immigration Enforcement in Scotland, said: “We are happy to work with businesses to explain the simple pre-employment checks needed to establish a person’s right to work in the UK, but to those who choose to ignore the rules the message is clear – we will find you and you will face a heavy financial penalty.

“Illegal working is not victimless, it undercuts honest employers, cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities and cheats the public purse.

“I urge anyone with specific and detailed information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”

The Border Telegraph spoke to one customer who was in the premises at the time of the raid, he told us: “I could hardly believe it. There was police and other guys everywhere. The wee guy who owns the business was crying, the tears were streaming down his face. I don’t think he quite realised what was happening.

“Officers started leading guys out of the place and they were letting no one else into the shop.”

Independent Ward Councillor Watson McAteer said: “I understand that the police acting with immigration officers have raided premises in Hawick and arrested a number of individuals. At this stage this is clearly a matter for the criminal justice system although if subsequently found to be true then it would be a matter of concern for the town.”