The UK Border Agency have released information that five senior staff at Castle College have been arrested in Gateshead and Newcastle on suspicion of ‘immigration crimes’ during a series of co-ordinated raids yesterday.
The agency said that the arrests followed an extensive investigation carried out by the UK Border Agency North East immigration crime team into Castle College, Park Road, Felling, Gateshead.
The UK Border Agency has now suspended the college’s licence to enrol overseas students. Officers from the agency were on site this morning to advise and assist any genuine students arriving for their studies.
Four of those arrested are senior staff at the college, and were held on suspicion of using the college to facilitate immigration offences. The other person arrested was a student at the college who was found to have breached the terms of her visa.
The Monday morning raids targeted residential addresses in Saltwell Road, Gateshead, and Moorside Court, Newcastle, as well as the college itself. Those arrested on suspicion of facilitating immigration offences are a 37-year-old Pakistani woman, a 41-year-old Pakistani man, a 37-year-old Pakistani man and a 33-year-old Bangladeshi man. All are now being interviewed at police stations in Newcastle. A substantial amount of cash was also seized from a safe at the college.
A simultaneous operation at an address in Ellesmere Road, Newcastle, uncovered the Nigerian student who had overstayed her visa. She was arrested and steps will now be taken to remove her from the country.
Jeremy Oppenheim, regional director for the UK Border Agency, said:
‘The UK Border Agency takes immigration crime very seriously and will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action against those involved.
‘We have dedicated teams of UK Border Agency investigators working with police officers across the country to protect our border and prosecute those criminals who undermine and abuse our immigration control.’
Paul Foggin, who leads the UK Border Agency North East immigration crime team, said:
‘The raids that took place this morning are the result of a long and complex investigation. Those arrested are now in police custody and will be questioned today.’
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