A wedding was halted this week (Wednesday. March 5) at South Queensferry Registrars office by Home Office enforcement officers.
An Algerian man was arrested moments before he was due to take part in a suspected “sham marriage” in South Queensferry.
Acting on information that the relationship may not be genuine, Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers attended South Queensferry Registration Office.
Prior to the ceremony commencing officers intervened and the 24-year-old ‘groom’ was arrested as he was in the UK illegally.
He had been due to marry a 29-year-old Polish woman who is now under further investigation and may be subject to prosecution.
Anna Beattie, for Home Office Immigration Enforcement, said:
“This is an example of the successful work we are doing to combat sham weddings and civil partnerships in Scotland.“We work closely with registrars across the country to prevent people from abusing the marriage system in a bid to get round our immigration laws.
“We will investigate whenever there are suspicions that a wedding may not be genuine. Where deemed fraudulent we will intervene and arrest those involved.
“I would urge anyone with detailed and specific information about suspected immigration crime to get in touch.”
A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs, according to the Home Office, 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.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime/ or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The Journal and Gazette’s photographer, Alistair Pryde, was on the scene of the unfolding incident and captured these shots exclusively for us.
He commented on the dramatic turn of events saying: “I was stunned to see this raid taking place on my doorstep in such a small place as South Queensferry. You would normally expect to find stuff like this happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow, not our wee village.
“I had arrived back at my studios around 2.25pm and immediately saw the Mercedes van with the Home Office logos on it parked outside the registrars office. I watched as two officers – dressed in black fatigues, stab vests and armed with what appeared to be tasers – walked a male out of the registration office and locked him into a caged cell area in the rear of the van.”
Edinburgh City Council, which has responsibility for registrar services in South Queensferry declined to comment.