A CUSTOMER was left with a "nasty taste in the mouth" after a Nepalese chef was led out in handcuffs during his meal in Lewisham.

Roy Thompson was enjoying a curry at Panas Gurkha Restaurant, in Lee High Road, when UK Border Agency staff burst in and arrested the cook.

The 59-year-old says seven officers in dark clothing targeted the curry house from both entrances during his evening meal last month to arrest the illegal worker.

He said: "I think it was the most exciting thing that has happened in Lee High Road.

"They went down to the kitchen and found a man who wasn’t supposed to be working there.

"They all came in and were speaking to the proprietor and were doing some sort of questioning and then took the gentleman concerned in handcuffs.

"As a customer it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth because you don’t expect to have these sort of things happen when you go for a meal."

Mr Thompson, who lives off Lee High Road, added: "In a way it was amusing but afterwards I thought - should restaurants be encouraging people to do this?"

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "A 32-year-old Nepalese man who had overstayed his visa was arrested and is currently in immigration detention.

"The UK Border Agency will seek to remove him from the UK at the earliest opportunity."

He went on to say the business was served a notice warning and faces a fine of up to £10,000 unless the agency is given proof the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit crimestoppers-uk.org

Employers can find information about avoiding employing illegal workers at ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/advice-for-employers