Belfast Telegraph

Three arrested after suspected sham marriage broken up

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

Three Pakistani men – including a would-be groom – were arrested moments before they were due to take part in a suspected sham marriage.

They are accused of travelling to Northern Ireland illegally, via the Republic, for the bogus ceremony.

The wedding had been due to take place at Enniskillen Registrar Office in Co Fermanagh on Monday afternoon.

But Home Office Immigration Enforcement Unit officers arrived just before the ceremony was due to begin and arrested the man set to be married, and two others due to act as witnesses.

The 29-year-old was due to marry a 24-year-old Estonian woman who lives in Dublin.

She was arrested, interviewed by officers and later released on the condition that she voluntarily leaves Northern Ireland.

Two Pakistani men, aged 26 and 27, who had also travelled from Dublin, were arrested for entering the UK illegally. All three men are currently in Home Office detention while steps are taken to remove them from the country.

Mike Golden for Home Office Immigration Enforcement, said: "We are carrying out frequent operations in Northern Ireland to crack down on suspected sham weddings. Where we receive information that a wedding may be suspicious we will investigate."

The Belfast Telegraph previously revealed criminal gangs are charging up to £10,000 to stage sham weddings in Northern Ireland. Figures show at least one suspected sham marriage a week is broken up here by immigration officials and police.

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