A total of 33 illegal workers have been arrested during a large-scale raid on textile businesses.

More than 100 officials from various agencies executed warrants at the former Imperial Typewriters building on East Park Road in Leicester at 10.25am during the operation.

Officers from the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Leicestershire Police, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Department for work and Pensions (DWP), Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took part in one of the biggest illegal working operations ever undertaken in the Midlands.

The 120 officers checked the immigration status of around 80 workers from 12 businesses based in the factory.

Of those workers, 33 were found to have no right to be in the UK and UKBA will now work to remove them from the country as soon as possible, a spokesman said.

The 26 men and seven women - from Pakistan and India - are now being held at a police station in the city.

As well as the arrests, £1,200 in cash was seized from one illegal worker under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “We are in the process of radically reforming the immigration system and enforcement action plays a key role.

”Over the summer the UK Border Agency will be focusing its intelligence and enforcement efforts not only on those with no right to be here, but also on employers and other unscrupulous criminals who facilitate criminal activity.”

The raid, codenamed Operation Serbal, is the first major operation as part of a national summer campaign by UKBA to clamp down on abusive employers and illegal working.

The Imperial Typewriters building featured on a Channel 4 Dispatches programme called “Fashion’s Dirty Secret” that was broadcast in November in which an undercover reporter exposed a number of poor working practices.

The businesses found to be employing illegal workers - the majority of which were manufacturing clothing - all now face potential fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker - up to £330,000 in total - unless they can prove that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out.

Simon Excell, UKBA deputy director in the Midlands and East, said: “Illegal working was endemic within the Imperial Typewriter Building and was a magnet for those with no right to live or work in the UK ”Illegal working is not only unfair on law-abiding businesses, we also often find that those who are happy to take on staff with no right to work are also happy to treat those employees with contempt - making them work long hours, in poor conditions, for less than the minimum wage.”