Restau­rant worker, 47, lived in the UK il­le­gally for last 22 years

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - John HAWKINS gloslive­[email protected]­plc.com

RESTAU­RANT waiter Mo­hammed Miah has spent the last 22 years in the UK il­le­gally and was only caught re­cently only be­cause he tried to use a col­league’s bank cards, a court was told.

At Glouces­ter Crown Court Miah 47, of Bath Road, Chel­tenham, ap­peared by video link from prison and ad­mit­ted theft of a wallet con­tain­ing cash, a credit card and two wedding rings; and pos­ses­sion of a fake Bangladesh­i pass­port and a driv­ing li­cence and purse be­long­ing to a restau­rant cus­tomer.

Ja­nine Wood, pros­e­cut­ing, ex­plained that Miah was a front of house waiter at In­dus Tan­doori and he and other staff mem­bers lived above the restau­rant.

Mrs Wood added: “On July 2, Miah’s col­league went to work down­stairs and left his wallet in his trousers in his own room and only dis­cov­ered the theft when he re­turned later that evening when he no­ticed that his cloth­ing had been moved.

“He re­ported the theft to po­lice and dur­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion the of­fi­cers dis­cov­ered in Miah’s own room other bank cards, a driv­ing li­cence and a

purse, which they be­lieved had been stolen.”

The court was told that Miah had taken his col­league’s bank cards and had tried to with­draw £500 from one of them in Chel­tenham and £1,500 on the other in Birm­ing­ham. Both trans­ac­tions were de­clined.

When Miah re­turned to the restau­rant the next day he ad­mit­ted that he had sold the rings to a friend in Birm­ing­ham.

Mrs Wood added: “The po­lice con­tacted the owner of the purse and driv­ing li­cence and she re­vealed that she had been a cus­tomer on Fe­bru­ary 27 and knew she had left her purse on the ta­ble. But when she phoned the restau­rant she was told she was told that it was not there.

“In his po­lice in­ter­view, Miah also ad­mit­ted that he had paid £5,000 for a fake Bangladesh­i pass­port and had over­stayed his visa by 22 years.

“He said he car­ried out the thefts be­cause he owed a drug dealer a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money.”

Eu­gene Hickey, de­fend­ing said: “Miah is of good char­ac­ter, de­spite over­stay­ing his visa for 22 years.

“Dur­ing that time he has worked in many restau­rant es­tab­lish­ments in the area.

“Sadly he got into drugs and soon he got into debt. This is not his usual char­ac­ter.

“He has worked hard over two decades and only pur­chased a fake pass­port to gain em­ploy­ment, even if meant he has been work­ing il­le­gally.”

Judge Ian Lawrie QC told Miah: “You are 47, a man of good char­ac­ter.

“It’s a shame you are be­fore this court for these of­fences.

“You re­alised you were in a predica­ment be­cause you have over­stayed your visa. You used a pass­port you knew to be fake, to gain em­ploy­ment.

“You also stole a col­league’s wallet and tried to use his bank cards to ob­tain sig­nif­i­cant funds.

“Luck­ily you were un­suc­cess­ful, but it shows in­tent. You also stole a purse from a cus­tomer.”

The judge sen­tenced Miah to nine months in prison and im­posed a vic­tim sur­charge of £140. He also or­dered the for­fei­ture and de­struc­tion of the pass­port.

The judge con­cluded: “It is up to the Home Of­fice as to what happens to you af­ter you have served your sen­tence.”

Mo­hammed Miah

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