A PIZZA takeaway has been slapped with a £15,000 fine for previously employing an illegal worker.

Papa Johns was fined after it was discovered that one worker was working illegally at its store in Coventry Street in Kidderminster.

This was one of the reasons the takeaway closed earlier this year and was reopened under new management, it was revealed. 

The Home Office said a civil penalty of £15,000 was issued to P J Kidderminster Limited in September, for the employment of one individual without the right to work in the UK. It followed a visit from Immigration Enforcement last July.

The pizza takeaway was closed in January until new ownership was secured.

A spokesperson for Papa Johns said: "Unfortunately, the previous franchise owner was not meeting our expectations, which is why we made the decision to close Kidderminster until we secured new ownership".

The store is now operating under new ownership and reopened last month.

Responding to the incident last year, a Papa Johns spokesperson said: “We are aware of the incident that took place last year at Papa Johns Kidderminster.

"We take this very seriously, and the store is now operating under new ownership. As a company, we are committed to ensuring a safe and respected workplace for all.”

The Home Office has said that illegal working visits increased by 73 per cent in 2023 compared with 2022 with overall arrests from enforcement visits in 2023 more than doubling in comparison with 2022.

If a penalty remains unpaid, the Home Office enlists third-party specialists who use various debt recovery strategies, including legal action, to pursue payment through the courts.

The civil penalty for employing illegal workers was increased in February 2024 and employers can be issued with a penalty of up to £60,000 per worker.