Five men were arrested after Home Office immigration enforcement officers swooped yesterday.

Staff spent the afternoon visiting several food establishments and questioning people on their rights to work in the UK, according to the Home Office.

Three men were arrested at Daily Fresh Foods on Upper Tooting Road, a 27-year-old Pakistani national and two Afghan nationals, one a 24-year-old and a child.

A 25-year-old Albanian man was arrested at Northcote Road’s Byron Burgers and a 38-year-old Chinese man was arrested at Golden Palace in Garratt Lane.

Four of the five men have been transferred to immigration detention awaiting removal from the country while the Chinese man must report regularly to the Home Office while officials work to remove him.

Unless the businesses can provide evidence that appropriate proof of work documents were checked, they face penalties of up to £20,000 for each person arrested.

A spokesman for Bryon Burgers said it carried out the necessary pre-employment checks for its staff.

Jill Smith, head of the South London Home Office Immigration Enforcement team, said: "These arrests should serve as a warning to businesses in south London considering employing illegal workers.

"Our specialist teams have the resources and expertise to find you and you will be penalised.

"Illegal working is exploitative, cheats the taxpayer and deprives legitimate job seekers of employment. We rely on information from the public and I would urge people to report suspected immigration abuse to us."