- Husband and wife Shohidul and Anwara Islam have both denied knowing that Bangladeshi man Shafik Miah was in their house in Burnley
- Burnley Crown Court heard that he entered UK on a six month visit in 2011
- Miah was found hiding behind a large suitcase during a raid last year
Husband and wife Shohidul and Anwara Islam have both denied knowing that Bangladeshi immigrant Shafik Miah was in their house in Burnley, Lancashire.
Miah was found hiding behind a large suitcase during a raid last year by immigration officers who discovered his secret hideout after crawling through a floor shaft.
Burnley Crown Court heard that he entered the UK for a six month visit in 2011 but overstayed his visa.
Husband and wife Shohidul and Anwara Islam (left and right) have both denied knowing that Bangladeshi man Shafik Miah was in their house in Burnley, Lancashire. Miah was found hiding behind a large suitcase during a raid last year by immigration officers who discovered his secret hideout after crawling through a floor shaft
The court heard that officers discovered that other bags had also been placed on or around Miah in an apparent bid to hide him from the authorities.
Father-of-four Islam, 41, and his 39-year old wife who lived at the house have today pleaded not guilty to assisting unlawful immigration and 11 charges of possessing an identity document with improper intention.
Another two defendants, restaurateur Abdul Shahid, 47, who ran the Sunar Gar restaurant in Bolton, and his nephew, Mohammed Amin Uddin, are also accused of the latter 11 charges.
Searches of the Islam's property found a number of counterfeit Bangladeshi passports and National insurance cards.
Amongst the haul seized were four counterfeit and doctored Bangladeshi passports with details altered, a genuine British passport that had previously been reported lost or stolen, two genuine Bangladeshi passports but with different pictures and false UK entry statistics plus four false UK National Insurance cards.
Other items found included counterfeit UK residence permits and over 270 pages of documentation in envelopes found in a bag inside a wardrobe.
Burnley Crown Court was told Miah had been granted a visa to enter the UK between April 4 and October 10 2011 but carried on living in Britain.
Immigration Officers executed a warrant at the house on April 1 having known the Islams had sponsored Miah on his visa application.
Shohidul Islam had told them Miah had gone back to Bangladesh, while Anwara Islam denied seeing him for at least a month.
She did admit he stayed at their home ‘on and off’.
Immigration officer Neil Holt told prosecutor Brian McKenna he later discovered Mr Miah after crawling through a floor shaft to a locked bedroom.
Another two defendants, restaurateur Abdul Shahid, 47, who ran the Sunar Gar restaurant in Bolton, and his nephew, Mohammed Amin Uddin (pictured), are also accused of latter 11 charges of possessing an identity document with improper intention
Mr Holt said: 'I spoke to Anwara Islam and she said: "I'm sorry. Shafik can't go back to Bangladesh, he is in danger". I asked why she hadn't contacted the Home Office and who was it that helped Shafik Miah. She made no comment.'
He added that he believed she had been stalling while officers were at the door and that he did not believe Mr Miah could have hidden under the suitcases without assistance.
Anwara claimed she was changing from her 'night clothes to her day clothes' when the immigration officers arrived.
But prosecutor Mr Brian McKenna said: 'No-one came to the door, after a period of a couple of minutes the immigration officers tried the door handle so they entered.
Once inside Shohidul Islam and Anwara Islam were asked if Shafik Miah was at the address.
'Shohidul Islam's reply was that Shafik Miah had gone back to Bangladesh. Anwara Islam, she said that he didn't live at the address and she hadn't seen him for over a month.
'But despite these comments the two immigration officers went on to search the house. It took them into the loft area. In the loft area who should be hiding behind a large suitcase with a number of other bags around him but Shafik Miah.'
'When Mrs Islam was asked by officers why she had lied, replied, "I'm sorry, what it is, Shafik can't go back to Bangladesh. He is in danger".'
A search then led them to the master bedroom where they found in the wardrobe a small grey bag containing passports, National Insurance cards and other documents including a Bangladeshi passport in the name of Rumel Ahmed.
Mr McKenna added: 'The passport was subsequently analysed by an expert, it was found to be counterfeit. It had been subjected to photographic substitution, unlawfully altered details and two counterfeit UK entry stamps. You may think a fairly sophisticated job.'
Further false National Insurance cards and passports were found in the bag. A second bag was also found in the wardrobe containing a false Bangladeshi passport, counterfeit UK resident permit and National Insurance card and over 270 pages of documentation.
Mr McKenna added: 'In that second bag, also found was a large numbers of other documents. They were contained in nine paper files or brown envelopes.
'Between 2005 and 2010, the defendant Abdul Shahid had acted as a sponsor in the applications for 12 Bangladeshi nationals who were applying for entry clearance to the UK. In the sponsorship forms they were described by him as other relatives.
'In 2004 the Sunar Gaw restaurant had acted as a sponsor for four Bangladeshi nationals in their applications to come to the country.
'The 270 pages of stuff seemed to relate largely to those sponsorship applications made by him or the Sunar Gar restaurant. You may very well say that is very interesting, what's that got to do with these false passports and National Insurance cards.'
The trial continues.