An operation targeting homeless rough sleepers underneath a M4 bridge in Heston, west London has led to the arrest of 16 illegal immigrants.
The operation was led by UK Border Agency and supported by the Metropolitan Police Service and the London Borough of Hounslow Council when they attended the site, on Heston Road at around 6:00am on 19th September 2012.
Sixteen people, who were all Indian males, were arrested for a variety of immigration offences. The UK Border Agency will seek to remove them from the country and return them back to India as soon as possible.
“This is one example of the tough action being taken by officers across the country to find and remove those who are in the UK illegally,” Immigration Minister, Mark Harper said. “We are also making it more difficult for illegal migrants to obtain free healthcare, financial products and access to benefits – and businesses found employing an illegal migrant can be fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker.”
“The message is clear, those with no right to be in the country should leave voluntarily, and we will help them to do so. However, if they refuse we will enforce their removal,” Mr. Harper added.
Since May a targeted UK Border Agency operation has resulted in more than 2,000 overstayers based in London leaving the UK which included more than 700 enforced returns.
Action will now be taken by the Highways Agency, who own the site, to secure it and prevent further access.