GARDAí are hoping to utilise little-used laws on bigamy in an attempt to crack down on arranged marriage rackets that have become rife.

Just a single person has been convicted of marrying more than once in recent years but gardaí believe it may be a way to circumvent major difficulties they face in halting weddings of convenience.

There is currently no legislation which prohibits a woman – or indeed a man – from agreeing to marry for monetary reasons.

Gardaí are still involved in a lengthy investigation called Operation Charity, which specifically targeted marriages between Pakistani men and Eastern European women in Ireland.

So far, nine people have been arrested in connection with their enquiries, five of whom were evading deportation at the time.

Another four people were arrested on suspicion of committing a criminal offence, namely in relation to bigamy and possession of false documentation.

A massive file is currently being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions specifically relating to the offence of bigamy, garda sources said.

It is believed that some of the people involved may have undertaken more than one marriage of convenience or may have had existing husbands or wives in their country of origin.

The operation already yielded its first conviction when a Pakistani national was convicted of possession of false documents. Another person is currently facing charges for the same offence, gardaí said, while five people have been deported from the state.