London: Eight Indian and Pakistani men have been arrested in Britain as part of a crackdown on sham weddings which are used to gain legal residency in the country.
A UK Home Office enforcement team said the men, aged between 27 and 40, were in the UK illegally and were taken into custody just before six ceremonies were to be held at Gretna registration office in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.
Six of the men have been detained pending their removal from the UK, while the remaining two must report regularly to the Home Office while their pending immigration cases are concluded.
No further information on their identities has been released.
"Anyone in the UK illegally and seeking to evade our immigration laws should take heed of this latest operation. Expect to be caught by us and removed from the UK," Anna Beattie, from the enforcement team, said in a statement here today.
"The Home Office is working with colleagues at registration offices throughout Scotland and receives intelligence from a wide variety of sources. We will not hesitate to act against those who mistakenly believe that they can abuse the immigration system," she added.
The team attended the registration office acting on information that the weddings may not be genuine.
The brides-to-be were said to be from Romania, the Czech Republic and the UK and have been interviewed and released.
The men included five would-be grooms and three guests who were due to attend the ceremonies at Gretna registration office on July 18.
They had all travelled to Gretna from areas across England, including Bradford, Manchester, Southall, Blackburn and Wolverhampton.
A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs 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.