AN indicator of ‘modern slavery’ was found by immigration officers at a four-star Lake District hotel, documents issued by the Home Office have revealed.

Home Office Immigration Enforcement has submitted an application to Westmorland and Furness Council to revoke the premises licence of the Fisherbeck Hotel in Ambleside after two visits found six illegal workers.

Immigration enforcement visits to the hotel were conducted in January and April this year. A civil penalty of £10,000 was issued on April 29 for employing illegal workers in January while an outcome for the visit in April is yet to be decided.

The Home Office report says: “The license holder, Yatson & Co Ltd has deliberately overlooked the rules and laws in place to prevent crime and disorder. In addition, the comments made by one worker in April 2024 that she receives “One meal for one day, the residue from the customers food only” should be given considerable weight.

“Whether by negligence or wilful blindness illegal workers were engaged in activity on the premises, yet it is a simple process for an employer to ascertain what documents they should check before a person can work. It is an offence to work when a person is disqualified to do so, and such an offence can only be committed with the co-operation of a premises licence holder or its agents.”

The visits to the hotel took place after the Home Office had received intelligence that illegal working was occurring at the premises, the application states.

The report adds: “Immigration Enforcement asks that the premises licence is revoked. Merely remedying the existing situation (for instance by the imposition of additional conditions or a suspension) is insufficient to act as a deterrent to the licence holder and other premises’ licence holders from engaging in criminal activity by employing illegal workers and facilitating disqualified immigrants to work illegally.”

Home Office documents said on a visit to the hotel in April one person was seen fleeing the kitchen. When interviewed she confirmed that she was cleaning for three hours a day.

According to the Home Office report, when asked about renumeration, she stated she gets: ‘One meal for one day, the residue from the customers’ food only’.

The report adds: “This is clearly concerning and is an indicator of modern slavery.”

In May, when enquiries were made into the closure of the hotel, a spokesperson for the Fisherbeck Hotel said: “Sadly we are closed permanently. Feel sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

Documents state out of the 16 staff encountered on two separate occasions, there were six illegal workers encountered at the premises. Two workers were encountered on both occasions.

In the January visit, one person hid themselves in the laundry cupboard and another person locked themselves from the inside of the laundry room, documents say. Another worker was found leaving the rear exit.

In April a worker encountered by officers said they had entered the UK in 2019 on a six-month visa. According to Home Office documents, he had made no applications to remain in the UK after the visa had expired, nor did they have any permission to work. They were served with paperwork as an overstayer on 30 November 2021.

In an interview with the hotel manager on the visit by Home Office officials in April, the manager was questioned about the three workers who were encountered and according to the report she stated, ‘she had only started work at 11am and could not account for who they are’.


The Fisherbeck Hotel has been approached for comment.