Ilford groom has ‘sham’ wedding halted
A GROOM was arrested on his wedding day after UK Border Agency officials dramatically stormed into the chapel of a registry office, calling time on the “sham”.
The 27-year-old Indian man was arrested moments before the ceremony at Redbridge Registry Office, Cranbrook Raod, Barkingside.
He was about to wed a 34-year-old Polish woman in what immigration officials believed was an attempt by the man to gain permanent residency in the UK.
He is now being held in an immigration removal centre, as the UK Border Agency seeks to deport him back to his homeland.
When questioned by investigators, he claimed to have entered the country legitimately in 2003 on a visitor’s visa and to have since lost his passport.
But there is no record of the man’s arrival on UK Border Agency databases.
Evidence gathered through questioning and a search of his house in Woodlands Road, Ilford, suggests he entered the UK using a false identity.
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A photocopy of his real passport was located, which officials say will help in their efforts to deport him.
The bride was released by officers without charge after the wedding was halted on Wednesday.
The intelligence-led operation is part of an ongoing nationwide campaign by the UK Border Agency to tackle sham marriages, bogus colleges and other organised abuse of the immigration system.
Tony Moore, in charge of the local immigration team for Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge, said: “This man used deception to begin a life in the UK and is now resorting to desperate measures to extend his illegal stay here.
“We are alive to this kind of abuse of the immigration system and are working extremely closely with registrars and the clergy to clamp down on suspicious marriages.
“I would urge you to get in touch with us if you believe individuals in your community are abusing immigration laws.
“We are particularly interested in information that would help bring to justice the organised criminals profiting from this kind of abuse.”
Anyone with information about immigration crime should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.