A deputy mayor's curry house has been banned from selling alcohol for 28 days following a licensing hearing looking at "crime and disorder" concerns after an immigration raid.

On August 10, the Lowestoft Tandoori on Lowestoft High Street was raided by a Home Office immigration enforcement team with two men arrested after they were unable to provide visas and passports and were believed to be working illegally.

The restaurant was initially issued with a £20,000 fine for each of the two alleged workers - one Indian man and one Bangladeshi man - but manager Nasima Begum proved to the Home Office that the men were asylum seekers and the fines were dropped.

Ms Begum, who has been running the restaurant for 11 years with her husband and is deputy mayor on the town council, then received a 'No Action Notice' from the Home Office that stated that the case had "now been closed."

Lowestoft Journal: Lowestoft Tandoori is owned by Meheraj Alam and Nasima Begum. Lowestoft Tandoori is owned by Meheraj Alam and Nasima Begum. (Image: Nasima Begum)

Last month, however, they were notified that the Home Office's immigration enforcement alcohol licensing team had requested a review of its premises licence.

That review has led to the premises being banned from selling alcohol for 28 days thanks to a suspension order.

The restaurant remains open and its owners can appeal the decision in a grace period.

The reason for the licensing review stated: "The current premises licence holders are Ms Nasima Begum and Mr Bepari Muhammad Meherajul Alam.

"Ms Begum is also the Designated Premises Supervisor.

"The Home Office, in its capacity as a Responsible Authority, is calling for a review of the premises licence under the licensing objectives of ‘prevention of crime and disorder’."

On Wednesday, November 8, members of East Suffolk Council's licensing sub-committee met to discuss the conditions of the licence.

But after a five-and-a-half hour meeting, which was held confidentially following a request from the Home Office, the restaurant owners are no closer to a resolution.

Lowestoft Journal: A packed Lowestoft Tandoori. A packed Lowestoft Tandoori. (Image: Submitted)

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Describing the events of the past three months, Ms Begum - who is also a Lowestoft town councillor, and was re-elected as deputy mayor in May this year - said: "Really, its been horrendous.

"The raid was damaging for business, but then our name was cleared and we were looking forward.

"In September we had the 'no action notice' from the Home Office immigration enforcement and that decision suggested that was it - particularly when it states case closed.

"But then we received notification of the premises licence review and when I questioned why this had happened we were told it was part of the process.

"So we went along with it until about a month ago when we received the details for the hearing - and we were particularly concerned to see that one action could revoke our licence.

"How can you revoke it when we have done nothing wrong?"

READ MORE: Lowestoft Indian restaurant named business of the year at national awards

With representations made by the premises licence holders, along with the Home Office and Suffolk Constabulary at the hearing, they were questioned by the licensing sub-committee members before they deliberated behind closed doors and a decision was made - which is subject to appeal.

Ms Begum said: "The council panel members were very helpful.

"The Home Office and police representatives were professional, and we did not have any professional legal help with us - so it felt rather unbalanced.

"They decided they want to suspend our licence for 28 days, not revoke it."

Ms Begum said the fact she is deputy mayor should not be used against her and she feared she was being made an example. 

She said that they will have to decide whether or not to appeal but that would cost either them or the council money. 

"We have worked so hard to build our reputation of the business over the last 11 years and my husband counts many of his customers as family he has known them so long.

"We just think it is all there in black and white - there has not been any illegal workers identified.

"We would like to thank our staff for all that they do and our customers - who have been amazing - for their continued support."