A MAN who had been living in the country illegally was been arrested in Swindon just moments before he was due to tie the knot in a wedding ceremony at the town’s Register Office.

The 22-year-old Indian national, who had been living in Slough, became an illegal resident in the UK when his student visa expired, a date which has not been disclosed by the Home Office.

Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers went to Swindon Register Office on Monday after receiving information an immigration offender from India was planning to get married there and that the relationship might not have been genuine.

Arriving before the wedding, officers stopped the ceremony from going ahead and arrested the groom.

It is believed an eagle-eyed member of staff at Swindon Register Office tipped off immigration officials about the proposed marriage.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was taken to Swindon’s Gablecross police station for further questioning. He is due to be transferred to immigration detention pending his removal from the UK.

The man has 72 hours from arrest to make any representations before he is flown back to India.

Kenny Chapman, of Home Office Immigration Enforcement, said: “We carry out frequent operations in Wiltshire and arrest offenders at businesses, home addresses and even when they are attempting to get married – as this case shows.

“When we receive information about people who are in the country illegally we act on it.

“We are sending a simple, clear message to anyone attempting to undermine the UK’s immigration laws – we will catch you and look to remove you from the country.”

The man’s planned bride – a 24-year-old Polish national from London – was questioned and later released.

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.

Anyone with information about immigration crime can call the Home Office via www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime/ or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.