The groom at a sham marriage ceremony cut short by a raid by immigration officers has been sent back home.

Officers interrupted the sham marriage at Harrow Civic Centre, in Station Road, following suspicions over the couple’s true intentions.

Staff from the Home Office waited for the arrival of the 32-year-old man from Nigeria and the 22-year-old bride to be from Portugal.

Both were arrested, to the surprise of guests at the ceremony, and the man has since been sent back to his country of origin after it was found he was getting married after his visa had run out.

Leader of Harrow Borough Council Susan Hall said: “We believe in a fair borough and it is simply disgraceful to lie in our registry office in order to cheat the system.

“It is appalling to see the lengths some people go to in dressing up and organising guests for a sham marriage.

“A marriage is supposed to be the happiest day in your life. Well, in this case, the couple certainly got a day they won’t forget.”

The woman involved has since been bailed as the investigation continues.

On Thursday last week Government published the Immigration Bill, which carries a number of proposals to clamp down on sham marriages.