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How we uncovered the scam

ALARM bells first rang when the woman operating Training Direct's telephone helpline told me the organisation passed everyone who sat the course.

Suspicions were further piqued when she said the six-hour English language and citizenship qualification would guarantee permanent UK residency – in return for £350 in cash.

But the clincher was the company's claim that it was accredited by the UK skills body, City & Guilds.

The following day it was business as usual at the firm's rented office in Glasgow's North Hanover Street, where "courses" were being delivered on Saturdays.

As I stood with a photographer across the street, groups of prospective students began to arrive.

Moments later we followed them into a room packed with families waiting to hand over cash as the registration process got under way.

Neither Yousaf Amin nor Sajad Khan were there. The registration and lessons were being taken by two smartly dressed young lecturers.

At first they were reluctant to speak, but when confronted with the evidence that City & Guilds had never heard of Training Direct it became clear they had their concerns.

One told us: "The certificates people are getting are just bits of photocopied paper and the course materials are a joke."

He told us that Amin usually came to collect the money later in the day, but was in Bradford that Saturday.

We left shortly afterwards with a bundle of bogus course materials, a phone number for Amin and the office address of Temple and Khan where the scam was based. This was handed to Trading Standards officers and the police.

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