Kew’s long-established Caffe Mamma Ristorante has kept its licence after a sub-committee review on Monday.

The restaurant, which has been in Richmond for 36 years, was under review after an Albanian national was found working there illegally.

Immigration officers inspected the premises on September 9 and arrested the worker after he failed to provide a valid visa. He is now “subject to deportation”.

The restaurant has been allowed to continue trading subject to six conditions, which are mostly focused on having adequate CCTV.

More than 50 people from the community went to the hearing to support the owner and staff.

Owner Jose Mendes said: “What a relief.

“I’ve come alive- I feel brand new again.

“We’ve had amazing support from the community.”

Questioned on why Caffe Mamma received the community backing it did, he said: “We try our best and we give back what people give to us.

“It’s just the way people are around here.

“We are looked after by the community and we are happy to pay it back.”

Councillor Rita Palmer, chairwoman of the licensing sub-committee, said: “Prior to the Committee last night the police agreed conditions with the licensee.

“If adhered to, these will ensure that the restaurant can continue trading.

“At the committee, members reviewed the evidence and listened to the suggested conditions that had been agreed by both parties.

“We subsequently agreed the police recommendations.”

The conditions include making sure CCTV is on when the restaurant is open, ensuring the footage is stored for a minimum of 31 days and that people are identifiable in it, and the time and date on the footage must be correct.

As well as appropriate CCTV, the owner must be able to produce evidence within 24 hours that all staff are legally allowed to work in the UK and must keep a record of all hours worked in the four weeks previous.

John Samuel, a local resident who went to support Mr Mendes said he doubted the licensing sub-committee “had ever seen anything like” the turnout.

He said: “More than 50 of his supporters made the effort to show up.

“There were more than 30 written submissions.

“His barrister gave a very good speech and Cllr Stephen Speake spoke well and highly of Jose and Antonio, the brothers Mendes.

“The best result under the circumstances was reached.

“A local business was not forced to close.

“Many, but not all, kept their jobs. Another hole in the high street was not created as the economy is slowing.

“But, a man who lived here and paid taxes for almost two decades is out of work and faces an uncertain future.

“A local business was under severe threat for almost two and a half months - the police were very clear - we close businesses that hire ‘illegals’.

“For weeks a sign was posted outside the shop saying the business licence was being reviewed for hiring illegals.

“It's a culture of fear and intimidation, led by the Home Office policy of ‘hostile environment’.

“Just when immigrants need moral support, after the referendum result, a local business started by immigrants is persecuted. The police reaction was overkill. The licence review was overkill.

“The council should be pro-active and approach each every rate-paying licence holder and tell them what they need to do.”

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