Two Northampton stores found with illegal workers behind the till

Kingsley Food and Wine will have its licence reviewed at a hearing on March 31. A worker was found to have an expired visa.

Kingsley Food and Wine will have its licence reviewed at a hearing on March 31. A worker was found to have an expired visa.

Two shops in Northampton could have their licences revoked after they were found employing illegal immigrants and stocking possible “smuggled” tobacco .

Plain clothed licensing, Trading Standards and immigration officers carried out a series of searches on shops on Friday, January 29 - acting on tip offs from the public.

Abington Supermarket in Wellingborough Road.

Abington Supermarket in Wellingborough Road.

Two of the stores they targeted, Kingsley Food and Wine in Kingsley Park Terrace and Abington Supermarket in Wellingborough Road were found to have foreign staff with expired visas.

Both were also found stocking “smuggled” tobacco.

A licensing committee hearing on March 31 will now determine whether the shop owners can keep their right to serve alcohol, tobacco and other licensable stock.

In his report to the council, PC Chris Stevens of Northamptonshire Police recommended both Kingsley Food and Wine owner Nadarajah Kangaratnam and Abington Stores owner Kemalatha Hemachandran have their premises licence revoked.

In regards to Kingsley Food and Wine, he said: “The position of the police is that, given the information provided to the committee regarding the offences...Nadarajah Kangaratnam is not a fit and proper person to be the premises licence holder.”

He has issued an identical statement in regards to Abington Stores licensee Mr Hemachandran.

At Kingsley Park terrace the officers on January 29 found the man behind the counter, Karunamithi Krishnaswamy, had overstayed his visa.

A report of the officers’ visit on January 29 was documented by PCSO Ashley Sparks, who described Mr Krishnaswamy as acting “nervous” on their arrival

“He would not keep eye contact with anyone speaking and he began stuttering when people started asking him questions,” the PCSO added.

Immigration officers’s checked the shopkeeper’s driving licence and found out his visa had expired.

He was arrested at the shop and driven straight to a hearing with immigration officials.

Under interview he claimed he was not being paid for working.

He said: “Yes I work but I don’t pay for accommodation and food.”

At Abington Stores, Indian national Govindan Meiappan was found working with an expired student visa. Under interview he said he had been working there for two weeks.

During the same visit 108 “Cyclone Blunts” a brand of rolling tobacco was seized by Trading Standards

PC Stevens said it is believed these were also “smuggled goods.”

The licensing committee will take place in the Guildhall at 10am on Thursday, March 31, where the licence holders will have a chance to put forward their case.