A man from Algeria was arrested just moments before he was due to take part in a suspected “sham” marriage in Lancashire.
Acting on information that the relationship may not be genuine, Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers attended Blackpool Register Office, Festival House, Lord Street shortly before 10am yesterday (Monday 16 December).
Just before the ceremony was due to begin officers intervened and the 45-year-old man, who had been living on the Promenade in Blackpool, was arrested after checks revealed he was in the country illegally.
He had been due to marry a 51-year-old British woman, who was interviewed by officers and later released. The ‘groom’ has been detained pending his removal from the UK.
The operation was carried out with the full co-operation of the Superintendent Registrar.
Assistant Director Karen McDonough, from the Home Office’s North West Immigration Enforcement Team, said: “We are working closely with registrars 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.