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Groom arrested at fake wedding in Blackburn
A MAN was arrested moments before taking part in a sham marriage.
Home Office immigration officers swooped on Blackburn Register Office in Northgate to stop the wedding at noon yesterday.
Having received information the relationship may not be genuine, officers intervened just before the ceremony and a 26-year-old Pakistani man was arrested.
Checks revealed he was in the country illegally having overstayed his student visa.
He had been due to marry an 18-year-old Latvian woman who was interviewed by officers and later released.
The ‘groom’ was detained pending his removal from the UK.
The operation was carried out with the full co-operation of the Superintendent Registrar.
Assistant director of the Home Office’s North West immigration enforcement team Colin Berrington said: “We are working closely with registrars In Lancashire to clamp down on sham weddings and civil partnerships.
“This operation is another example of the success that we are having.
“Where there are suspicions that a relationship may not be genuine we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene to stop it happening.”
A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.
Anyone with information about immigration crime can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or visit www.crimestop pers-uk.org.
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