A UK Border Agency initiative which involves questioning private landlords in Cambridge to track down illegal immigrants has been described as "red tape for the sake of it".

Local landlord Dennis Whitfield called the crackdown, which involves representatives from the Home Office checking tenancy agreements from the last year, "an obscure law"that has never been enforced.

Commenting to the Cambridge News, the private landlord said he has been in the business for 45 years and had never come across the rules before.

Officials hope that looking at paperwork, making tenant credit checks and studying references from the last 12 months will help them track down individuals who are not legally allowed to be in the UK.

Mr Whitfield remarked: "It's legislation that dates back to the [1970s] when you had to fill out forms whenever you crossed an international border, so it's completely out of step with today's world. It's bureaucracy gone mad."

Private rented sector professionals across the country have also been warned by the National Landlords Association and regional police forces to conduct regular checks on their properties to ensure they are not being used as cannabis factories.

Written by Sarah Field

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