Multi-agency action tackling suspected underlying criminality in restaurant industry 

Officers from the Highland and Islands Division have co-ordinated a multi-agency day of action to tackle suspected underlying criminality within the takeaway and restaurant industry. 

Premises in Inverness and Nairn were visited during the evening of Thursday, September 21 as part of the enforcement activity to tackle suspected money laundering, immigration and drugs offences.
Residential properties were also visited as suspected unlicensed houses of multiple occupation.

The operation involved officers from Highland and Islands Division of Police Scotland, working alongside partners from Highland Council, Environmental Health, Trading Standards Licencing Standards, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Home Office Immigration Enforcement and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Detective Inspector Peter Mackenzie said: "This has been a worthwhile operation involving a number of agencies in order to deter and disrupt criminal activity and importantly sends the message that organised crime in relation to labour exploitation, tax evasion and immigration offences, to name a few, will not be tolerated."

As a result of the activity Highland Council, Home Office Immigration Enforcement and HMRC will progress investigations into suspected licencing, tax and immigration offences.

Senior Environmental Health Officer for The Highland Council Gregor MacCormick said: “Members of staff from our Environmental Health team took part in a joint operation last night led by Police Scotland involving Immigration Enforcement and HMRC inspectors. The operation was part of a multi-agency day of action to tackle suspected underlying criminality within the takeaway and restaurant industry in the Inverness and Nairn area. 

“Significant food safety contraventions were identified in one of the food premises targeted which required Environmental Health officers to take immediate enforcement and for the premises to be closed. 
“Two properties were identified as being occupied as unlicensed HMOs, one of which had serious fire and electrical safety issues requiring enforcement action to be taken by the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service. HMO licensing is there to protect the tenants and occupants of such properties, and we will continue to work in partnership with such interventions in the future.”

22 Sep 2017