Bulwell swoop on illegal immigrants

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A MALAWIAN man who was working at the Co-op’s distribution centre in Bulwell has been jailed for illegally staying in the UK.

Gordon Hamdan was living in Henrietta Street in the town and was arrested along with three other Malawian nationals also found to be living at the property when police raided after an anonymous tip-off.

Hamdan provided police with a genuine Malawi passport but it contained a counterfeit residential permit that was actually for a Columbian national.

He was found to be living and working in the UK illegally after his working holiday visa, which he entered the country with in October 2008, expired in July 2010.

At a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court, Hamdan (25) pleaded guilty to possessing a false UK residency permit.

Judge Nigel Godsmark QC sentenced Hamdan to six months in prison.

Deportation papers have also been served, but the court heard he was planning to appeal against the deportation.

Another Malawi national arrested at the same time, Thokozani Phiri, was also jailed for six months at a separate hearing.

Phiri (24) admitted possessing two fake residency permits that were for Indian and Romanian nationals.

This was an intelligence-led operation by UKBA Immigration Crime team based in Nottingham.

Andy Radcliffe, from the UK Border Agency’s East Midlands criminal and financial investigation team, said: “Our specialist crime teams of immigration and police officers are cracking down on immigration crime, whether this is identity theft, document fraud or sham marriages.

“As this case shows, we will not hesitate to detain and prosecute people who have been abusing the immigration system.”

The Co-operative, which employed Hamdan, has been helping police and border agency staff with their enquiries.

A company spokesman said: “As a responsible retailer, we check the credentials of all our employees.

“We are unable to comment on the circumstances of individual members of staff, other than to confirm that Mr Hamdan was employed as a warehouse operative at our distribution centre in Bulwell.

“We are investigating this matter.”