Off-licence used as organised crime front which generated millions set to be reviewed

An off-licence used as a front for serious organised crime which helped generate millions of pounds should be stripped of its licence, police have said.

Friday, 1st September 2017, 4:13 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:22 pm
Mistry off-licence (Google Maps)

The future of Mistry, in Featherstone, is to be discussed by Wakefield Council’s licensing committee next week.

Owner Malkeet Rathod was jailed for nine years in June for duping the Home Office into allowing 188 immigrants into the UK illegally. His wife and sister-in-law were also convicted of money laundering.

Rathod set up bogus Sikh religious missions at two premises, one of them being the shop on Featherstone Lane.

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He provided fraudulent paperwork to keep Indians in the country as religious workers.

Rathod, 49, charged people up to £4,000 a time to act as their sponsor to gain them entry from India posing as religious workers in the Sikh community.

Many of those who gained entry to the country arrived to find no work available for them when they arrived.

Some ended up working on building sites or were left destitute, relying on others for food.

When police and immigration officials carried out a dawn raid on Featherstone Lane they found £26,000 in cash in a brief case.

In a report prepared for the meeting a statement from the police states: “In reality, the missions did not exist and the migrants disappear onto the black employment market.

“It is believed that Rathod has benefited in the region of £2-3 million pounds, much of which cannot be accounted for

because it has been sent to India. In view of this, West Yorkshire Police seeks a review with view to revocation of the premise licence as the objective of preventing crime and disorder has clearly not been met.”

This view has been supported by Wakefield Council’s licensing enforcement officer.

The matter will be discussed on Tuesday, September 5 at Wakefield Town Hall.