AN immigration raid on a £130 million construction site in the city centre has lead to 17 arrests.

Officers from the Home Office conducted the search into the Circus Street Development site in central Brighton from about 10am.

The Argus:

About a hundred workers left the premises and watched the incident unfold from surrounding streets.

The Home Office said the 17 men arrested for immigration offences presented themselves as Albanian, Indian, Ukrainian and Kazakhstani.

Adrian Hart, a local campaigner, watched the raid unfold.

He said: “There were officers with dogs going into the site.

“I was called by residents in nearby Milner flats and by the time I get there, it was all unfolding.

“A large number of the workers have been expelled and are just sitting around in the sun.”

Video from the scene shows Home Office vans lining the road and officers heading into the premises from Kingswood Street.

Sally Baker, 27, and Allan King, 29, live opposite the Circus Street development site in the Milner flats.

The Argus:

Mr King said: “Sally and I came back from shopping and saw all the workers standing on Kingswood Street and police and immigration officer on the site.

“It is not good to have this happening on your doorstep”.

There is a meeting with developers U&I, building company Henry construction, and local residents planned for later this evening.

A spokeswoman for U&I said: "We are committed to ethical practice and our contracts with construction contractors require that they abide by employment and immigration law and that all site personnel are qualified to come on site. 

"We are aware that Home Office officials have visited the site this morning, and we are unable to provide any further details until their investigation is complete.’’