Feb 26 2013 By Carl Gavaghan
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AN Indian man has been arrested just moments before he was due to take part in a suspected sham marriage.
UK Border Agency officers received a tip off about the marriage and swooped as the ceremony was due to begin at Civic Centre in Uxbridge at around 2.30pm on Monday.
The 22-year-old groom-to-be, who had been living at an address in Harlington, was arrested for being in the country illegally having overstayed his visa.
He had been due to enter into a partnership with a 23-year-old Hungarian woman, even though the couple did not appear to speak the same language.
The woman was questioned by officers and released, while the Indian man has been detained pending his removal from the UK.
Assistant director Sarah Burton, from the UK Border Agency, said: “We’re working closely with registrars across the London 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.
Hillingdon Council's cabinet member for property, Councillor Jonathan Bianco, added:
“The London Borough of Hillingdon takes its duty in regards to the institution of marriage seriously and is proud that our staff helped the UK Border Agency expose this sham marriage.
“Our staff are trained to look out for suspicious activity and helped raise the alarm in this case.
“We hope that it will act as a deterrent to others who may be considering a sham marriage and sends out a clear message that criminal activity won’t be tolerated in the borough.”