Officers from the Met’s Public Order Unit have released images of three men they wish to speak to after insects were deliberately released into two London branches of Byron.
At around 7pm on Friday 29 July, an unknown number of male suspects entered the burger chain’s Holborn branch and released a number of locusts and cockroaches onto the restaurant floor and in the male toilets.
At the time there was a protest taking place outside the premises, targeted at the restaurant chain. The protest followed a Home Office investigation which led to 35 staff being arrested for immigration offences at a number of restaurants across London, after an operation carried out with the “full cooperation” of Byron in July.
The suspects then moved onto a second branch of the chain in High Holborn where more insects were released.
On both occasions, customers were asked by staff to vacate the premises and the restaurants were closed.
The individuals in the images are described as follows:
‘Man A’ is described as dark-skinned, of medium to heavy build, unshaven with thinning hair. He was wearing a bulky hooded anorak, brown shoes and blue jeans, and was carrying a rucksack.
‘Man B’ is described as dark-skinned, of thin build, with long hair – tied at the back – and unshaven. He wore thick-rimmed glasses and a black tracksuit with white stripes along the arms, and carried a bag or satchel over his shoulder.
‘Man C’ is described as dark-skinned, of thin build, with short hair and a short beard. He was wearing a brown blazer, blue shirt and light grey or beige trousers.
Anyone who recognises any of the individuals or who has information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact the Met’s Public Order Crime Unit on 020 8246 0076 or to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Last week Byron issued a statement in response to the Home Office investigation in which it said it wished to reiterate that it was “unaware” that any of its workers were in possession of counterfeit documentation until the Home Office brought it to its attention. It added that the Home Office recognises that as an employer it has always been fully compliant with immigration and asylum law in its employment practices.
“We carry out rigorous ‘right to work’ checks, but sophisticated counterfeit documentation was used in order to pass these checks,” Byron said. “We have cooperated fully and acted upon the Home Office’s requests and processes throughout the course of their investigations: it is our legal obligation to do so.”
The chain said that it had also “worked hard” to ensure minimal impact on customers while the operation was underway.