Blog article13th February 2012
UKBA prevents 70 'sham' marriages
The UK Border Agency's (UKBA) special investigation team has stopped dozens of sham marriages from going ahead in Leeds.
Immigration staff spent a month at Leeds Town Hall's register office and conducted interviews with all couples who planned to get married, which led to the prevention of 70 weddings.
They also interrupted two wedding ceremonies, one involving a French woman and an Indian man and the other involving a Pakistani groom and a Lithuanian bride. Both men lived illegally in the UK.
Detective Inspector Adrian Watkins, from the UK Border Agency, said: "Certainly since we started looking at these last March, there's been an increase and they've been brought to our attention on a more regular basis, probably because the registrars themselves are more aware of the problem.
"We've done an awful lot of work leading up to the operation, intelligence work. We've also got excellent co-operation with the registrars. It's the registrars themselves who inform us after asking certain questions which raise their suspicions."
The UKBA's operations in Leeds will feature on the BBC's Inside Out Yorkshire programme on Monday night.