Immigration officers have made six arrests in Manchester after uncovering a suspected sham marriage plot.
Local registrars alerted the Home Office after a succession of weddings featuring Pakistani man and Czech women aroused their suspicions, the Manchester Evening News reports. In some cases the couples had required interpreters to exchange their vows.
Two Czech women and two Pakistani men were arrested in the Cheetham Hill area, accused of assisting unlawful immigration. Two other men, also Pakistani, were arrested on suspicion of related immigration offences.
Home Office investigators believe there have been five fake weddings in the city in just five months.
In such schemes, men in search of residence visas typically pay several thousand pounds to take part in staged weddings with EU nationals, in order to gain their rights to live in the UK, work and claim benefits.
Home Office investigator Nick Wood said: “Where there are suspicions that a relationship may not be genuine we will investigate, and if necessary, intervene to stop it happening. Those who attempt to break immigration laws face prosecution and conviction.”