A pizza takeaway in Reading is set to lose its licence after police and immigration officers arrested three men suspected of working illegally.

Milanoz King Pizza at 136 Wokingham Road, Reading could lose its licence which enables it to sell food from 5pm to 5am each night.

During an immigration inspection, officers found three men they suspected of working illegally.

At  a council meeting where the licence for Milanoz was under review, one of the suspects was revealed as a care home worker in London who was spotted carrying a food delivery bag from his car at the rear of the takeaway at Stanway Cottages.

Two other men were arrested as well.

During the visit  one worker said  he was being paid £6.50 per hour, another said he is only paid with food, and payment details for the other was not detailed.

But the police and licensing officer suggestion that the three men were working illegally was disputed by Bill Donne a licensing expert from Silver Fox Consultants, who represented Milanoz director Farhan Dahir at the meeting.

The NHS care home worker found with the delivery bag was referred to as ‘Mr S’ throughout.

Mr Donne argued that Mr S regularly visits Reading to see his sister, and is a regular customer of Milanoz rather than a staff member.

Mr Donne also said working in hospitality can be ‘incestuous’ which explained why he entered through the rear of the premises rather than the front like a normal customer.

However, when Mr S was questioned by immigration officers, he told them that he worked there.

Those who hire illegal workers can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison  and pay an unlimited fine.

They are also liable to civil prosecution with a maximum fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.

All three of the men arrested during the visit on January 26 had Arabic surnames.

In a report by the immigration officers, out of the three suspects, one had overstayed their granted leave in the UK, one was in breach of his employment conditions -understood to be Mr S- another had his leave to remain curtailed.

Although document states two of the workers are due to be deported, it is understood they have both been released back into the community.

Only one of the suspected workers, Mr S, has had a civil enforcement notice served for illegal working, which is being challenged.

Mr Donne said: “We are adamant that Mr S was not working at the premises.

“He was simply returning a bag.

“The problem is, if you have the audacity to object to it [a civil penalty for illegal working], the fine could go up.

“We’re adamant that Mr S wasn’t working there.”

An objection has been submitted against the civil penalty notice.

The licensing meeting was presided over by councillors.

Councillor Clarence Mitchell (Conservative, Emmer Green) said: “When I order for takeaway, I’m served a hot pizza in a cardboard box.

“How many other pizza places give you a Deliveroo style bag to take pizza away?”

There were also questions why he was at the back of Milanoz at the time of the inspection.

In reply, Mr Donne suggested that Mr S was familiar with the area because he used to work at a chicken shop two doors down as a student, and as a regular customer he was allowed to enter from the back.


The inspection was carried out by eight officers by Home Office South Central Immigration and Enforcement (ICE), Thames Valley Police and council licensing officers.

Council officer Anthony Chawama said he saw Mr S’s sister in a state of distress in Mr S’s car during the inspection at around 8.30pm.

Immigration officer Caroline Laird questioned whether Mr S could be working both legitimately as a care worker and illegitimately at Milanoz, a question that appeared to be decisive.

Ultimately, the licensing committee decided to revoke the licence at the meeting on Thursday, April 20.

It means that Milanoz can no longer serve food from 11pm to 5am each night.

The takeaway closes to walk in customers at 2am but deliveries continue until 5am.

However, Mr Donne said an appeal will be made within 21 days of the decision notice being served.

The appeal will allow Milanoz to operate as usual until the appeal is heard at magistrates court.

Council and police licensing officers also accussed Milanoz of licence breaches during the inspection in January and a follow up visit at 5pm on Wednesday, March 22.

In that visit, the officers stated elements of the premises licence were not properly displayed, an expired fire safety certificate from 2019 and poorly maintained CCTV.

Mr Donne replied by saying Milanoz has successfully applied for a minor variation to its licence with no changes to operating times, but complying with various conditions such as the operation of CCTV, staff training, maintenance of an incident book and fire safety training.