Tell us if you suspect illegal immigrants, urge UK Border Agency
PEOPLE are being urged to pass on information about suspected illegal immigrants working in East Yorkshire.
The plea for the public's help came from UK Border Agency intelligence officers making a rare appearance before councillors at an East Riding Council scrutiny committee.
The two officers spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of their specialised undercover work.
They gave details of how the agency operates and a number of recent investigations, including one case where officers discovered an elderly man living in a cupboard in a Hull restaurant.
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"It was literally modern- day slavery," said one of the officers. "The employer involved had created false documents and the elderly gentlemen in question was living in a cupboard in a wall.
"He was being sold on between various restaurants to settle their debts.
"He wasn't being paid to work, he was just given food and accommodation – in this case, a cupboard to live in.
"The man was being given a bit of spending money but was effectively being controlled by his employer."
The agency's intelligence team covering East Yorkshire has recently had its remit extended to cover North Yorkshire.
As a result, the team's responsibilities stretch from Hull to York, Scarborough and Harrogate.
The officer said: "Because of the sheer size of the area we now cover, we are reliant on information being passed to us by the public.
"The community is very much our eyes and ears.
"We will record the smallest detail and action it.
"It's important to stress that any information given to us will be treated confidentially. We do not need the name of the person passing on details or any suspicions they might have.
"We investigate everything we receive and that includes information passed on to us anonymously."
The officers said the bulk of their work had shifted in recent years from intercepting people trying to enter the country illegally though Hull's docks to the use of false identify documents by individuals and employers.
The officer said: "Trafficking people for exploitation, whether it involves labour, the sex trade or even organ donation, is the biggest problem at the moment.
"For example, we have seen a high number of students coming here for courses that don't exist.
"One they arrive, they are then exploited by the people who were involved in bringing them here."