Berkshire

Reading takeaway licence suspended over illegal workers

Tops Pizza Image copyright Google
Image caption Tops Pizza, in Wokingham Road, is part of a wider franchise

A pizza takeaway has had its alcohol licence suspended for three months after illegal workers were found during a immigration raid.

Tops Pizza in Reading avoided having its full licence revoked after lawyers argued its franchisor had no knowledge that three illegal workers had been employed there.

The Home Office found them working there and in full uniform in April.

Tops Pizza said the case had "provoked a wholesale review" of the company.

Lawyer Matthew Phipps argued Tops Pizza Ltd, the licence holder, did not carry out "that exploitation", the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

He added: "We are very sorry. We have let ourselves down."

Tops Pizza Ltd has 41 branches which are owned by an individual director, with the premises licences held by the franchisor.

Supervisor of the Reading branch and director Ali Yazdi was effectively absent from the takeaway, Mr Phipps said.

Franchise owner Masood Aghabarari's contract has now been terminated and the business was liquidated in November, with new owners taking over.

Richard French, of Reading Borough Council, said the company had shown a "complete lack of licensing compliance" at the hearing this week.

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