EXCLUSIVE:NOTW delivers 66 on-the-run foreigners to Home Office.. to show how easy it is
By Mazher Mahmood
THE News of the World has given bungling Home Office officials a lesson in catching illegal immigrants.
They say they haven't a clue how many are in Britain. And they can't find hundreds who've gone on the run.
But within a few hours we managed to round up TWO BUSLOADS of them.
We drove them to an immigration detention centre with the message: Try not to lose them this time.
We delivered 70 in all—49 on a luxury coach and 21 crammed into a minibus. It would have been MORE if the coach driver hadn't chucked 20 off for safety reasons.
Last night a red-faced Home Office spokesman spluttered: "We are grateful to the News of the World for its work to bring these cases to light. Tackling illegal working is a top priority."
It took our undercover reporters less than two days to track down almost 100 illegals in London. All they had to do was put the word round they were seeking cheap labourers.
BUSLOAD No1 came from the East End. A regular at the White Hart pub in Green Lane put our reporters on to an illegal worker called Manjit Singh.
He told us: "If you want cheap labourers, you can get hundreds.
"The only thing is they're all illegal and don't have any paperwork. You have a lot of skilled Eastern European workers.
"But if you want a gang of grafters then I'd suggest Indian boys. They'll work a whole day for £40.
"The Home Office are clowns. They can't track us down and nowhere we have worked has ever been raided. We are safe."
Manjit, in his 30s, told how he'd paid £9,000 to be smuggled to Britain on a fake visa from Jullundar in India. He has been living and working in London illegally for three years.
He took us to nearby Rosebery Avenue, East Ham, where scores of illegal workers live. Inside a terraced house next to a Sikh temple turban-headed Makhan Singh asked: "How many people do you need? We'll get as many as you want.
"We've got 12 living in here and we all do building work, but we don't work on the books. There are more of us living over the road."
There were two single beds in the cramped, foul-smelling front room with another mattress thrown on the floor. Washing was hung over the open door.
Within minutes nearly 20 people crammed into the room, all seeking work. They openly admitted being illegal immigrants. Meanwhile Manjit used his mobile to line up more.
Our investigators moved on to a makeshift employment agency in the back yard of an off-licence in Plashett Road, east London.
There Bhola Singh promised: "I can get you a hundred people by clicking my fingers. None of them have any papers. It's cheap labour."
True to his word, 40 men filed in the next day to sign up for work.
Yesterday at 9.30 am, our luxury 53-seater coach pulled up outside the Ruskin Arms pub in East Ham. Scores of workers, some clutching lunchboxes, piled on board.
At one point they were sitting on each other's laps! When our law-abiding driver threw some off they begged to be let back on.
BUSLOAD No2 came from Southall, west London, where hordes of illegals converge in the Northwood Road car park every morning from 6am.
They are picked up by a fleet of minibuses and paid from £30 a day to work on building sites.
Our investigators approached a man with a green turban called Nishan Singh, who came to Britain a year ago on a fake visa.
He said: "How many days work do you have and how many people do you need? There's a ring of us. I can get them easily. No one has any papers, brother."
He handed over his phone number and said that he would turn up with 20 people.
Yesterday when our minibus arrived outside a Sikh temple in Southall there were many more than we'd allowed for. Twenty-one of them squeezed aboard.
Somewhat to the surprise of all the illegals, BOTH buses headed straight to the Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre near Heathrow where 25 uniformed police officers stood in wait.
The convoy was ordered into a secure compound where 35 immigration officers swooped.
Each illegal was searched and placed in detention. All mobiles were confiscated.
One passenger said in Punjabi: "Don't worry, lads, I know we're f****d but stay calm. Say nothing."
Last night a Home Office spokesman confirmed that of the 70 we delivered, 66 people had been arrested and detained. Among them were EIGHT failed asylum seekers already sought by immigration.
Our investigation will heap even more shame on the government. Home Secretary John Reid admits he has no idea how many illegal immigrants are in Britain. The Home Office's own figures claim there are between 310,000 and 570,000, believed to be a huge underestimate.
Our Investigations Editor Mazher Mahmood is famous as the Fake Sheik. Now, after his On The Buses coup. he'll also be known as the Fake Blakey...