Illegal Passport Factories And Suppliers Raided

Illegal passport factories and suppliers raided

By Megan Reynolds
The Guardian
March 22, 2007

A FAKE passport facility in Ilford was raided by police yesterday (Wednesday).

It was one of a series of illegal passport factories and suppliers across London raided by the Metropolitan Police in one of its most significant co-ordianted crackdowns on the illegal industry.

The dawn raids involved over 100 police officers searching 13 addresses, and arresting 22 people.

Of those arrested, 19 were taken into police custody for a range of crimes including unlawful facilitation, various identity card offences, and possession and conspiracy to produce and distribute false documents. Three people were dealt with for immigration offences.

A total of 40k in cash was seized as well as a variety of false passports, driving licences and foreign identify documents.

The crackdown, codenamed Operation Greenhill, was led by the Met's Operation Maxim, which deals with organised crime against the UK's immigration system and tackles organised criminal networks such as illegal passport factories, human smuggling and the recently formed Human Trafficking Team.

Operation Greenhill also involved officers from the UK Immigration Service, the Identity and Passport Service, South Yorkshire Police and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Detective Chief Inspector John Kielty from Operation Maxim, said: “The Metropolitan Police take these criminal networks very seriously. The production of false passports enables others to commit a range of serious crime. This operation tackles the criminals who try to hide their true identities from enforcement authorities.

“The operation proves how by working closely with our partners, we are able to disrupt these various networks and make London safer.”

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “We said we would work closer with the police to tackle serious immigration crime and make our borders safer and we meant it.

“The operation shows our shared determination to attack the organised crime that accounts for as much as three quarters of illegal immigration to Britain.”

The dawn raids took place in Ilford, Walthamstow, Tottenham, Stoke Newington, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Upper Holloway, South Lambeth, Hackney, Brixton, Kilburn, and Greenford.

If anyone has information they would like to provide they are encouraged to contact, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

10:06am Thursday 22nd March 2007