A U-TURN on a curry house that employed illegal workers was due to a lack of police evidence, councillors have said. 

Miah’s of Pangbourne, on 26 Reading Road, has kept its premises licence to sell alcohol, after West Berkshire Council reversed its previous decision to revoke it. 

Immigration enforcement officers found three people working in the restaurant in August last year, and which led to the council revoking the licence last October. 

But because of a mistake — four councillors sat on the licensing sub-committee last year instead of the legally required three — that decision was invalid and the review had to be reheard.

This time round, when the committee met on October 16, councillors decided that the evidence was now out of date. The reasons for the decision were published a week after the meeting. 

The decision said that no ‘written representations were submitted into evidence in the last twelve months’. “The licensing sub-committee felt there was a lack of evidence in this regard.”

The committee ‘acknowledged the seriousness of the evidence of illegal working’, and noted ‘there had been another incident of illegal working’ at another Miah’s restaurant at Spencer’s Wood on August 31, this year. 

It also noted that when Thames Valley Police visited the Pangbourne restaurant on August 11, this year, ‘there was evidence of poor practices and a lack of due diligence’. However, the police did not then find a breach of the licensing conditions or evidence of illegal working. 

The decision said ‘there was not sufficient evidence’ for revocation, but instead chose to tighten the licence conditions — including better paperwork to prove staff have the right to work in the UK. 

The licensing sub-committee at West Berkshire Council takes five working days to decide on licence reviews; this contrasts with Reading Borough and Bracknell Forest councils, which make decisions on the same day as hearing the review.