AN INDIAN restaurant in Ellesmere Port was raided as part of a nationwide immigration crackdown.
Seven people at Shere Khan on Cheshire Oaks were among the 70 people across the UK to be arrested by police and immigration officials.
The Ellesmere Port restaurant was one of 15 places linked to the Shere Khan chain all over Britain to be raided at 6pm on Friday.
The others were restaurants in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Sheffield and Kent, and residential and business addresses in Greater Manchester.
The raids had been carried out as part of a joint agency operation run by Merseyside Police's Force Crime Operations Unit.
They were assisted by four other police forces including Cheshire, the United Kingdom Immigration Service and the Department of Work and Pensions.
A Merseyside Police spokesman said: 'A number of Shere Khan restaurants were raided shortly before 6pm on Friday. The men arrested were all in their 20s and 30s.'
Detective Superintendent Steve Moore of Merseyside Police explained: 'These activities are the result of a lengthy investigation into abuse of the immigration system.
'We have been working closely with colleagues in partner agencies and, as a result, have arrested a large number of people for offences under the Immigration Act.
'These offences include the facilitation of illegal immigration and other offences under the Act.'
Police say the 70 men are now all being dealt with by the Immigration Service.
Shere Khan's solicitors have said that no member of the company's management team has been interviewed by police.
The business was started 19 years ago in Manchester by husband and wife Nighat and Rafique Awan, who live in a mansion in Hale, Cheshire.
Mrs Awan, awarded the OBE in 2004, is head of a Department of Trade & Industry-backed group aimed at getting more ethnic minorities involved in business.
The family have welcomed Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair to functions at their home in the past.
Shere Khan is a multi-million pound business operating restaurants around the UK, as well as in Dubai and Japan, and making curry sauces, poppadoms and other Indian foods for the retail and export markets.