Birmingham & Black Country

Eight arrested in Wolverhampton 'sham marriage' raids

Eight people have been arrested in early morning raids in Wolverhampton as part of an investigation into a suspected sham-marriage ring.

A team of 60 people, including police and immigration officers, swooped on five houses in the city from 06:00 GMT.

Three men and five women of Czech, Polish and British origin were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to breach immigration laws.

Officers said the raids were sparked by an "intelligence-led" operation.

Sham marriages typically involve two strangers marrying so one can gain the right to work and claim benefits. Organisers charge up to £10,000 while between £2,000 and £3,000 can be paid to recruit a bride or groom from a European Union country.

'Face prosecution'

Home Office spokesman Andy Radcliffe said: "Today's arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into a suspected sham marriage ring operating mainly in the West Midlands.

"Where there are suspicions that a relationship may not be genuine we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene to stop it happening.

"Those who seek to cheat immigration law face prosecution and conviction."

Three people - a 20-year-old Czech man, a 53-year-old Czech woman and a 27-year-old British man - were arrested at a house in Dunstall Road.

Two Czech women, aged 25 and 23, were arrested at a house in Gratis Street.

A 35-year-old Czech woman was arrested at a house in Bright Street while a 33-year-old Czech woman and 32-year-old Polish man were arrested in Carter Road and Lowe Street respectively.

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