Dagenham man among 17 arrested in “sham marriage” crackdown
A 32-year-old man from Dagenham was among 17 people arrested in cities across the country today as part of a UK Border Agency crackdown on sham marriages.
The suspect, from Ibscott Close, was arrested on suspicion of facilitation following a series of raids that took place in London, Liverpool, Bristol and Kent.
The raids were part of a pan-European operation that resulted in a further 16 arrests in France and Portugal.
Andy Radcliffe, from the UK Border Agency, whose team oversaw the coordinated effort, said: “Today’s arrests were part of an 11 month investigation involving officers from three different countries.
“By working together in this way we can tackle pan European abuse of immigration systems.”
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Those arrested are currently being questioned by officers at police stations in London and Liverpool.
The largest of today’s operations was a probe into a Portuguese crime collective which is suspected of providing fake brides and grooms to marry west African and Pakistani nationals in the UK and France.
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This resulted in seven arrests in the UK, 10 in France and six in Portugal.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “Immigration crime is not victimless. The gangs involved in this activity often have links to serious organised crime and it places huge pressure on the public purse at a time when the country can least afford it.”
Meanwhile, another UK Border Agency operation not linked to the pan-European probe resulted in an arrest in Barking.
A 24-year-old Portuguese woman was arrested on suspicion of facilitation at an address in Dovehouse Mead.