Retailers attempting to stock up at Bestway’s Kingsway Park depot in Liverpool were forced to wait for almost three hours while the branch was submitted to what was called a “foolish” and “heavy-handed” raid by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

The raid, involving more than 50 officers and police dogs looking for illegal immigrants, forced the depot to close at the busiest part of the trading day, with an estimated £70,000- worth of lost sales.

“The unnecessarily tough actions caused total disruption to our business and that of our customers, especially as we were not even allowed to explain anything to anyone, or even call our head office,” depot manager Khizar Raja told C-Store.

Bestway legal director Dawood Pervez also condemned the way in which the raid was executed. “We are greatly shocked that the UKBA thought a raid, from a tip-off, was an appropriate and responsible way to deal with the issue,” he said.

One Bestway employee, who was already known to the Home Office thanks to earlier enquiries by Bestway, was arrested, despite the depot having been requested by the Home Office to continue employing him.

Bestway is calling for a full apology from the UKBA.