Officers swoop in Winchester to stop wedding this morning

Basingstoke Gazette: Officers swoop in Winchester to stop wedding this morning Officers swoop in Winchester to stop wedding this morning

A SUSPECTED sham marriage in Winchester was dramatically stopped this morning and the “bride” and “groom” arrested.

Acting on information that the relationship between the man and woman may not be genuine, specialist Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers swooped at the Register Office on Station Hill at 10am.

The “bride”, a 21-year-old French woman, was arrested on suspicion of perjury, bigamy and assisting unlawful immigration.

It is suspected she has been married twice before, neither of which relationship has been dissolved.

Her would-be “groom”, a 26-year-old Cameroonian national whose leave to remain in the UK expires shortly, was arrested on suspicion of perjury.

Both are now being questioned at a police station in Hampshire, while searches of residential premises in Basingstoke and Lewisham, south London, take place.

The operation was carried out with the full co-operation of the Superintendent Registrar.

Stuart Reynolds, from the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations team, said: “We work closely with registrars across the south of England to stop abuse of the marriage system by those who wish to get round our immigration laws.

“Where there are suspicions that a relationship may not be genuine we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene to stop it happening.”

Officers have also made two further arrests in connection to the marriage, at an address in High Street, Winchester.

A 29-year-old man from the Ivory Coast and a 30-year-old man who presented a Belgium identity card were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law just after 11am.

Officers also found a quantity of cash which has been seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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.

The Home Office's Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations team are specialist trained immigration officers and seconded police who investigate organised immigration crime.

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Comments (7)

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4:48pm Fri 28 Feb 14

macbeth101 says...

"specialist Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers swooped at the Register Office", exactly how many officers were there? Is this not a total waste of tax-payers money just to appease some Daily Mail readers?
"specialist Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers swooped at the Register Office", exactly how many officers were there? Is this not a total waste of tax-payers money just to appease some Daily Mail readers? macbeth101
  • Score: -6

5:44pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Mophelia says...

macbeth101 wrote:
"specialist Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers swooped at the Register Office", exactly how many officers were there? Is this not a total waste of tax-payers money just to appease some Daily Mail readers?
I believe there were a number of arrests, not just one. The fact that large sums of money are often exchanged to pay a fixer to arrange the sham marriage has consequences in relation to money laundering.....I've no doubt that the money exchanging hands doesn't then go into the economy in any moral or legal way and is probably used to fund drug deals, human trafficking and other horrible crimes. Sham marriage is not a victimless crime by any measure.
[quote][p][bold]macbeth101[/bold] wrote: "specialist Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers swooped at the Register Office", exactly how many officers were there? Is this not a total waste of tax-payers money just to appease some Daily Mail readers?[/p][/quote]I believe there were a number of arrests, not just one. The fact that large sums of money are often exchanged to pay a fixer to arrange the sham marriage has consequences in relation to money laundering.....I've no doubt that the money exchanging hands doesn't then go into the economy in any moral or legal way and is probably used to fund drug deals, human trafficking and other horrible crimes. Sham marriage is not a victimless crime by any measure. Mophelia
  • Score: 10

9:44pm Fri 28 Feb 14

campfreddie says...

macbeth101 wrote:
"specialist Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers swooped at the Register Office", exactly how many officers were there? Is this not a total waste of tax-payers money just to appease some Daily Mail readers?
Daily Mail readers? Almost as bad as Hampshire Chronicle readers. Macbeth101, do you even pay tax?
[quote][p][bold]macbeth101[/bold] wrote: "specialist Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers swooped at the Register Office", exactly how many officers were there? Is this not a total waste of tax-payers money just to appease some Daily Mail readers?[/p][/quote]Daily Mail readers? Almost as bad as Hampshire Chronicle readers. Macbeth101, do you even pay tax? campfreddie
  • Score: 5

10:17pm Fri 28 Feb 14

macbeth101 says...

Mophelia, oh come off it, this isn't cocaine smuggling from Colombia. And since when was a marriage of convenience a crime? they were both consenting adults, it wasn't some child bride or forced marriage.
Mophelia, oh come off it, this isn't cocaine smuggling from Colombia. And since when was a marriage of convenience a crime? they were both consenting adults, it wasn't some child bride or forced marriage. macbeth101
  • Score: -4

7:28am Sat 1 Mar 14

Eastleigh68 says...

You need to realize macbeth101 that people pay thousands to arrange a sham marriage, someone told me last year about a former neighbour who asked him to marry someone for about £3000 but when he talked to his mates in the pub they said it should be 2-3 times that amount which made me laugh because he must of been thinking about it! It is not an innocent crime as it will lead to abuse of already hard hit services in this country like the NHS and benefits systems plus that person in the marriage from abroad could be used like a slave to payback the fee to the real criminal, the person arranging the sham!
You need to realize macbeth101 that people pay thousands to arrange a sham marriage, someone told me last year about a former neighbour who asked him to marry someone for about £3000 but when he talked to his mates in the pub they said it should be 2-3 times that amount which made me laugh because he must of been thinking about it! It is not an innocent crime as it will lead to abuse of already hard hit services in this country like the NHS and benefits systems plus that person in the marriage from abroad could be used like a slave to payback the fee to the real criminal, the person arranging the sham! Eastleigh68
  • Score: 5

9:14am Mon 3 Mar 14

Jimtiddlypom says...

£3000 sounds quite reasonable - I'm pretty sure my wedding cost me more than that. Still, it's good to know these people won't be costing our NHS or benefits system any money. Although probably worth noting that they will be costing the justice system a fair amount of money now, and since they didn't marry the Ivory Coast chap won't now be paying tax on his earnings. Ho hum.
£3000 sounds quite reasonable - I'm pretty sure my wedding cost me more than that. Still, it's good to know these people won't be costing our NHS or benefits system any money. Although probably worth noting that they will be costing the justice system a fair amount of money now, and since they didn't marry the Ivory Coast chap won't now be paying tax on his earnings. Ho hum. Jimtiddlypom
  • Score: 1

9:22am Mon 3 Mar 14

macbeth101 says...

the question is how do you define a sham marriage? you could say that the mills/macartney marriage was a sham, or any marriage motivated be money or personal gain. I won't accept the 'extra burden on the NHS' argument for a minute, most immigrants work and pay taxes. Only the gutter press would have you believe otherwise.
the question is how do you define a sham marriage? you could say that the mills/macartney marriage was a sham, or any marriage motivated be money or personal gain. I won't accept the 'extra burden on the NHS' argument for a minute, most immigrants work and pay taxes. Only the gutter press would have you believe otherwise. macbeth101
  • Score: 0

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