A student could be kicked out of the country after his essay writing scam was smashed by a fellow student.

Kai Li, a marketing management student at the University of Central Lancashire, was running a national essay writing company, allegedly charging students up to £1,000 to write their assignments.

The 25-year-old from China's Guangdong province, now faces a university investigation, with a formal hearing next year.

If the decision is taken to expel him, he faces losing his student visa and being forced to return to China.

His firm, called Lancashire and Lancaster, was uncovered by an aspiring journalist at the university student paper, Pluto.

Journalism student, Ricki Dewsbury was tipped off about a company selling assignments to international students.

He managed to obtain a poster advertising the sale of essays in the window of Chinese supermarket 88, in Plungington Road, Preston.

The journalism student then posed as a new recruit for the essay writing firm and was offered £330 to write two 3,000 word media business reports for UCLan's business school.

Editor of the Pluto newspaper, Ed Walker, said: "The investigation was very successful. The firm was initially brought to our attention by a Chinese poster in a supermarket which we had translated and we realised they were selling essays.

"We managed to infiltrate the organisation and all the details have now been given to the university who are conducting their own investigation."

Mr Li had built up a network of 35 writers from across the country in the two years that he had been studying at the university.

The student, who lives in Alsop Street, Preston, used the Chinese social networking site, QQ, to take orders for dissertations, masters essay, UCAS application forms and Powerpoint presentations.

He is believed to have sold essays to students at top universities across the country, including Sheffield, Lancaster, Stirling and Edinburgh.

A university spokesperson said: "We have suspended the student in question after being handed information by the student newspaper Pluto. It was good information that made us believe that acts of plagiarism were taking place.

"We are now conducting a thorough investigation into the matter.

"UCLan takes plagiarism, collusion or any other form of academic misconduct very seriously and we are pro-active in attempting to eradicate it."