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 Teenager found illegally working in Bishop Auckland car wash


​A teenager who was illegally working at a car wash has been safeguarded following a multiagency operation.

The 15-year-old foreign national was found to be working illegally at Soapy Car Wash, in Bishop Auckland, along with another illegal worker. The boy is now being safeguarded by the appropriate authorities.

HM Revenue and Customs also found that staff were potentially not being paid correctly. 

The discovery came following a multiagency operation involving Durham Constabulary, the North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit, Durham County Council, HM Revenue and Customs, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.

During the operation, which took place last week in Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor, car washes and pizza shops linked to potential illegal activity were searched.

As a result, Spenny Car Wash was closed down by the HSE due to dangerous electricity conditions.

Four pizza shops were also visited during the operation - Sorento’s Pizza, in St Helen Auckland, Pizza Time and Picasso Express, in Bishop Auckland, and UK Pizza, in Willington.

Various breaches were identified at each premises, which are being addressed by the owners.

The activity was carried out as part of Operation Sentinel – a specialist operation to target suspected organised crime in the North East.

Sergeant James Vance, from Bishop Auckland Neighbourhood Team, said: “This operation was the culmination of months of hard work between ourselves and our partner agencies to target suspected illegal activity at local businesses.

“Disruption activity like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of local people who have come forward with valuable pieces of intelligence.

“If you suspect criminal activity is going on in your community, no matter how small or insignificant you think that piece of information might be, please report it to us.

“Your information doesn’t just detect crime, it can also prevent crime and keep people safe.”

Anyone with any information on potential criminality in their area should contact Durham Constabulary on 101, or dial 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively, information can be passed on to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.