Wiltshire

Rollestone Camp 'Afghan villagers' in immigration arrest

Two men employed by a Ministry of Defence contractor to play Afghan villagers in soldier training have been arrested for immigration offences.

The arrests were made in a raid at Rollestone Camp on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire on Tuesday which lasted 12 hours, the UK Border Agency said.

The Afghan nationals, employed as "role play" villagers in Army exercises, were among 200 employees to be checked.

One was held for overstaying his visa, the other is a failed asylum seeker.

The raid on the base at 08:00 BST was led by Ministry of Defence Police who said they had acted "swiftly and robustly" to intelligence they had received.

Held for questioning

An MoD Police spokesman said that for operational purposes details of the raid had been kept "close to the chest" but the MoD had given their "full co-operation" and had "helped to facilitate the operation".

The spokesman also confirmed that both men had been arrested before becoming involved in the training but was unable to confirm whether they have been involved in previous operations.

In a statement, MoD Police said "neither of those arrested were direct MoD employees nor did they have access to any sensitive MoD facilities, equipment or information".

During the operation, the immigration status of short-term contract staff employed by MoD contractors was checked by UK Border Agency officers.

A Border Agency spokesman said the men, aged 19 and 24, were being questioned at Salisbury police station and steps were being taken to remove them from the UK.

The MoD confirmed there was a raid on the base and that two arrests had been made.

The Border Agency is still trying to establish the contractor responsible for employing the two men.

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