THREE suspected illegal immigrants were arrested by police in a Chinese takeaway in Minchinhampton.

Police were called to the business in West End on Wednesday, January 2, when a local councillor noticed that the front door of a block of bedsits next door connected with the business was open.

Inside, officers found a 23-year-old woman, a 26-year-old man and a 34-year-old man, all of Chinese origin.

When asked for his identification, one of them, Yong Wang, 26, produced a fake Home Office identity card.

Wang was charged with possession of a false identification documentation and was jailed for 12 months and fined £1,000 plus £250 prosecution costs at Gloucester Crown Court on Monday.

The other man and woman were not charged and were handed over to the UK Border Agency.

Wang was brought to the UK six years ago by a gang which made him work 'like a slave' to pay off family debts, the court heard.

When arrested he told police he didn't work at the Chinese takeaway next door but helped out in return for a small amount of money and food and board.

Police recovered £2,518.73 from Wang's bedsit, which he said was money he had saved from working at the takeaway.

Sarah Jenkins, defending, said: "He came into the UK with the assistance of a gang to which his family was beholden by debts.

"He spent the next three years paying off the debts by working in various kitchens."

Ms Jenkins said he then worked at a takeaway in Liverpool where he was given the opportunity by his boss to obtain a false identity document, for which he paid £300.

Wang moved to Gloucestershire because a girl he knew told him the conditions would be better, said Ms Jenkins.

His family live in mainland China and his parents are in poor health, she added.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC told Wang: "Your story is a very typical one. You were smuggled into this country by a ruthless gang who then made you work for a long period of time really as a slave until the debts were paid.

You were then cast adrift in a country where you cannot speak the language."

The judge said Wang would be sent back to China during or at the end of his sentence.