UK immigration officials have arrested five individuals in Gateshead and Newcastle-upon-Tyne this morning (March 1st).
Following an extensive investigation by the North East immigration crime team from the UK Border Agency (UKBA), a series of co-ordinated raids were organised to target a college suspected of UK immigration crime.
Castle College in Park Road, Gateshead, has had its licence to enrol overseas students suspended as part of the investigation.
Meanwhile, officers have been on site this morning to advise and assist any genuine students arriving for studies.
The raids were prompted by a number of people arousing suspicion that they were facilitating immigration offences through the college.
In addition to this a student was arrested for having breached the terms of her UK student visa.
Jeremy Oppenheim, regional director for the UKBA, commented: "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."
Meanwhile, Paul Foggin, leader of the North East immigration crime team, explained that the people arrested today are now in police custody to be questioned.