Two men from Queen’s Park arrested during ‘sham marriage’ raids

Pair are being held on unrelated matters after officers storm address in Shirland Road

Two men in Queen’s Park have been arrested following a series of raids across Europe today targeting a sham marriage network.

UK Border Agency officers stormed an address in Shirland Road in a crackdown on a Portuguese organised crime group which has allegedly been providing ‘brides’ and ‘grooms’ to marry west African and Pakistani nationals in the UK and France.

A 22-year-old from Egypt and a 36-year-old from Syria found at the address are not part of the network but the former was arrested on suspicion of fraud and deception, and the latter is being held for entering the country illegally.

The raids resulted in a total of 17 arrests in London, Liverpool, Bristol and Kent – 10 were in connection with the sham marriage network.

Officers also made 10 arrests in France and six in Portugal.

Mark Harper, Immigration Minister, said: “Today’s arrests show that the UK Border Agency is taking strong action to crack down on sham marriages nationwide.

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“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.

“Our dedicated crime teams will continue to crack down on those who seek to abuse the immigration system.”