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UKBA working `closely’ with registrars, clergy to identify suspect marriages

Crackdown continues on bogus marriages

26th July 2010: The UK Border Agency is working `very closely’ with registrars and the clergy to identify suspect marriages.

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The assertion by Detective Inspector Alex Ttaris from the London immigration crime team came just over a month after the UKBA reiterated it has `specialist teams of immigration officers’ and police for probing sham marriages.

Ttaris said: ‘We are committed to targeting criminal groups who profit from organising sham marriages.

‘Across London we are working very closely with registrars and the clergy to identify suspect marriages. Where there is evidence to suggest that a wedding may be bogus we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene to stop it happening.’

The assertion follows arrest of five people in a UKBA operation targeting a suspected sham marriage in East London.

Officers from the London immigration crime team swooped as the would-be bride and groom arrived for a rehearsal at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in East Ham at on 22 July.

The enforcement operation was part of planned nationwide action by the UKBA to tackle illegal working, sham marriages, bogus colleges and organised immigration crime.

The ‘bride’, a 33 year old Nigerian woman, was arrested on suspicion of perjury, fraud, immigration offences and an offence under the ID Cards Act.

The ‘groom’, a 34 year old Czech national, was arrested on suspicion of assisting unlawful immigration.

Two other men, a 31 year old Czech national and a 34 year old Nigerian national, were also arrested on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate a breach of immigration law.

A fifth person, a 41 year old Nigerian male, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of ID Cards Act offences during a search of a property in Trinity Gardens, Canning Town.

All five remain in custody and are being questioned by police and immigration officers.

It was the second such operation in the East Ham area in a little over a week. On Wednesday 14 July three people were arrested at the Church of St Bartholomews in Barking Road.

The UKBA has already declared its immigration crime teams are already creating a hostile environment for the immigration laws breakers; and the Agency is on a hunt for the organisers of sham marriages.

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