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Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 17:52 GMT
Raid on 'forgery factory'
Passport
The raid was carried out in Bournemouth last week
Police in Dorset and Devon are confident they have disrupted a major immigration operation which may have smuggled scores of people into Britain from the Baltic states.

Hundreds of forged and stolen documents, including passports and sophisticated computer equipment have been seized by the National Crime Squad (NCS).

NCS officers from Exeter and Dorset police uncovered what they have described as a "forgery factory" in Bournemouth last week.

Two men holding Lithuanian passports were being interviewed on Thursday over immigration and forgery offences.

We think dozens of people have been brought into the country by this ring but it may be more

Boris Worrall, National Crime Squad
NCS spokesman Boris Worrall said: "We have uncovered what amounts to a forgery factory.

"It is quite a sophisticated operation including a computer with lots of templates used to produce forged documents.

"We think dozens of people have been brought into the country by this ring but it may be more."

Officers also seized an immigration stamp, forged college certificates and utility bills in the raid which was part of Operation Calligram.

'Major scam'

Detective Chief Inspector Stewart Slater, commander of the NCS Exeter branch, said: "This would appear to be a sophisticated criminal enterprise focused on the illegal immigration of significant numbers of people.

"The documentation we have seized seems to indicate that complete new identities were being created using forged and stolen documents.

"We are confident we have disrupted a major immigration scam linked to the Baltic states."


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