TWO restaurateurs have been ordered to pay £145,000 in confiscation orders and fines after pleading guilty to the employment of nine illegal immigrants at two Dorset curry houses.

Sahid, 45, and Mortuja Miah, 42, were convicted following a joint operation between Dorset Police and the Home Office Immigration Enforcement.

The brothers ran two Indian restaurants - the Taj Mahal in Westbourne and Taj Mahal II in Poole town centre - and employed illegal immigrants at both addresses, police said.

They said that warrants were executed at the two restaurants on several occasions between 2008 and 2010 and, on average, more than half of the staff present had not been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK.

The brothers, both from Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to employing illegal immigrants and money laundering offences at Bournemouth Crown Court in September 2011.

The older of the two brothers also pleaded guilty to human trafficking and hiding an illegal immigrant at one of the restaurants.

Now, they have been ordered to pay a total of £100,000 in a confiscation order, following a hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court.

They must pay within six months or face an eighteen month prison sentence.

They were also fined £5,000 for each illegal employee - totalling a further £45,000 in fines.

The purpose of the confiscation orders is to ensure that both men repay any money gained as a result of these crimes.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Kennard, of Dorset Police's Economic Crime Unit, said: “These substantial orders and fines have come as a result of an effective joint operation between Dorset Police and the Home Office Immigration Enforcement and should serve as a strong deterrent to any person who currently employs - or intends to employ - illegal immigrants.

“These two men have profited greatly from employing illegal immigrants and these confiscation orders and fines highlight just how seriously such offences are taken.”

Carla Johnson, from Home Office Immigration Enforcement, said: “Since 2008, officers have carried out four operations targeting illegal workers at the two branches of the Taj Mahal in Westbourne and Poole. During these raids we found 17 people who had no right to work in the UK and we have imposed civil penalties of £45,000 on the employers over the illegal staff.”