On 20th November UK Border Agency officers made 17 arrests in a series of operations around the country targeting suspected sham marriages alongside coordinated action that saw 16 arrests in France and Portugal.
The UK operations were focused around six separate investigations which saw officers execute warrants at addresses in London, Liverpool, Bristol and Kent.
The largest of those operations was a pan European probe into a Portuguese organised crime group which has allegedly been providing ‘brides’ and ‘grooms’ to marry west African and Pakistani nationals in the UK and France. This resulted in seven arrests in the UK, 10 in France and six in Portugal.
The nitty gritty;
A 32-year-old was arrested at an address in Ibscott Close, Dagenham, Essex, on suspicion of facilitation;
a 28-year-old at an address in Huskisson Street, Liverpool, on suspicion of fraud and deception;
a 34-year-old at an address in Mattison Road, Haringey, N4 on suspicion of fraud and deception;
two men aged 32 and 57 who had over-stayed their visas arrested at an address in Sumner Road, Peckham;
a 34-year-old who had over-stayed his visa was arrested at an address in Stevenson Crescent, Camberwell,
and a 31-year-old arrested on suspicion of deception and fraud at an address in North Woolwich Road, Royal Victoria Dock, London.
Those arrested are currently being questioned by officers at police stations in London and Liverpool.
In addition to the pan European investigation there were a further nine arrests in the UK in five unrelated investigations.
Two Portuguese woman aged 22 were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to launder money at an address in Fishguard Way, Victoria Docks, London.
A 22-year-old Egyptian man was arrested on suspicion of fraud and deception and a 36-year-old Syrian man was arrested for entering the country illegally at an address in Shirland Road, London, W9.
A 31-year-old Pakistani who had overstayed his visa was arrested at an address in High Street, Rochester, Kent. A 32-year-old was arrested on suspicion of identity document offences at the same address.
A 24-year-old Portuguese female was arrested on suspicion of facilitation at an address in Doverhouse Mead, Barking.
at Bristol registry office a 34-year-old Pakistani man who had over-stayed his visa was also arrested on suspicion of deception; a 52-year-old Polish man was arrested on suspicion of assisting unlawful immigration.
In addition to the investigations above, officers charged Yadwinder Singh, 31, of King Street, Southall, with two counts of perjury and one of fraud in relation to a suspected sham marriage to a Hungarian woman which took place in Brent. Mr Singh was arrested at an address in Heathrow Boulevard, Harmondsworth.
Remember anyone who has information on suspected immigration offenders can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously.