Seven people, including 5 lawyers, have been arrested as part of a major investigation into a group of solicitors suspected of facilitating illegal immigration into the UK.
Around 75 UK Border Agency and police officers were involved in a series of early morning raids on 14 addresses across London on Tuesday 1 March.
They took place at 4 locations in Lewisham, and addresses in the Eltham, Rainham, Bexley, Clapham, Camberwell, West Dulwich, Abbey Wood, Sydenham, Croydon and Enfield areas.
The raids follow a lengthy investigation by the agency’s London immigration crime team.
All 7 suspects were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigration into the UK. Six were questioned and bailed pending further enquiries, while 1 man was granted immigration bail pending his removal from the UK.
In addition, IT equipment and documents were seized from a number of locations and will now be examined.
Detective Inspector Karl Amos, from the London immigration crime team, said:
‘This operation was the result of a complex and extensive investigation. Evidence we have seized will be examined and our enquiries will continue.
‘Immigration crime can be big business. Gangs are frequently highly-organised and use sophisticated methods. That is why the UK Border Agency now has police and immigration officers working together to disrupt the criminal networks which help fuel illegal immigration.’
The London immigration crime team is a specialist unit of police officers seconded from the Metropolitan Police working alongside warranted UK Border Agency officers to investigate organised immigration crime.