Suspected sham wedding halted at Weybridge register office

First published in This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter - Richmond and Twickenham

A groom-to-be was arrested after immigration officers put a stop to a suspected sham wedding in Weybridge.

Home Office immigration enforcement officers went to Weybridge Register Office, Oatlands Drive, at about 11am on Tuesday, January 28, after finding out a wedding due to take place may not be genuine.

The groom, a 28-year-old man from Pakistan who was in the country illegally after overstaying his visa, was arrested and could be removed from the UK.

The bride-to-be, a 24-year-old Bulgarian woman, was questioned by officers and later released, but the pair shared no common language and gave inconsistent accounts of their relationship. The intervention of the wedding was carried out with full cooperation of the superintendant registrar.

Paul Smith, head of the Thames Valley and Surrey Home Office immigration enforcement team, said: “This is an example of the successful work we are doing to combat sham weddings and civil partnerships in Surrey.

“We work closely with registrars across the area to prevent people from abusing the marriage system in a bid to get round our immigration laws.

“Where we receive information that a wedding may be suspicious we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene and arrest those involved.

“I would urge anyone thinking of entering a sham marriage to think again as there is every chance that you will be detained and removed from the country.”

Another suspected sham wedding was intercepted by Home Office officials at the same register office on June 25, 2013.

Sham marriages or civil partnerships normally occur when a non-European national marries someone from the European economic area for long term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse should visit or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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