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More vicars arrested over alleged ‘fake marriages’ scam | Immigration Matters

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Two priests have been arrested on suspicion of running a sham marriage conspiracy to help illegal immigrants stay in Britain, the Telegraph reports.

The Rev Brian Shipsides, 54, and the Rev Elwon John, 43, were detained yesterday by police investigating suspected fake weddings at a church in east London.

The Daily Telegraph told last week how police and Church insiders fear crime gangs are using corrupt vicars to exploit weaknesses in Anglican procedures and help thousands of African men and women gain residency.

It came after a vicar in East Sussex became the first clergyman to be found guilty of being complicit in a false marriage scam, on Friday.

Previous inquiries have focused on those getting married but detectives are now investigating the role of vicars across the country.

The Rev Shipsides and the Rev John were detained following the arrest of two Nigerians an a Dutch woman suspected of arranging and taking part in a sham marriage at All Saints church in Forest Gate, east London, on Saturday.

The Rev Shipsides, who appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for officiating at the wedding of the world’s tallest married couple in 2001, was arrested at his vicarage on suspicion of conspiracy to breach immigration law and attempting to pervert justice.

The Rev John was also arrested at his home, in Barking, on suspicion of breaking immigration law, and police swooped on their churches, All Saints and St Edmunds.

Detective Inspector Karl Amos, of the London Immigration Crime Team, said: “The arrests were part of an ongoing investigation into suspected sham marriages at a church in Forest Gate.

“We have also carried out searches at a number of addresses, and will now seek to examine closely the evidence that we have recovered.

“Our policy is clear – if we uncover evidence that a wedding may not be genuine we will investigate, and if appropriate, take action against those involved.”

The 27-year-old Nigerian man has been charged with perjury, attempting to gain leave to remain by deception and identity card offences.

The 30-year-old Nigerian woman was charged with conspiracy to facilitate breaches of immigration laws.

They will appear in custody at Inner London Crown Court on October 4.

The 23-year-old Dutch woman has admitted facilitation offences. She was handed a two-month suspended sentence and banned from re-entering Britain for a year.

Gangs, who have been operating all over the country, charge up to £15,000 to fix up the sham marriages, usually between Africans and Eastern Europeans, who go their separate ways afterwards.

The Rev Alex Brown, 61, was found guilty last Friday of carrying out 360 sham weddings over four years. Brown was thought to have carried out the weddings for cash and around £5,000 was found in his rectory.

Damian Green, the immigration minister, has said the Government is determined to crackdown on people who conspire to remain in Britain illegally.

See also:

Church of England Vicar found guilty in fake wedding marriage scam case

Nursing home rated ‘adequate’ by CQC prior to UKBA immigration raid

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4 Responses to “More vicars arrested over alleged ‘fake marriages’ scam”
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  1. hi sir,,,i had sent information about illegal immigrant working in east london to border agency for 5-6 time in last 7 months but people are free on street and using taxpayers money in taking all medical benefit..i dont know whats going on…i had informed to LIT newham but no action had been taken so where to contact to inform about this illegal immigrants

  2. […] week two more priests were arrested on suspicion of running a sham marriage conspiracy to help illegal immigrants stay in […]

  3. Dear Sir,thank to reply your e-mail.1:Applicant Name:Usman Akhtar,Date of
    Birth:25 feb 1978,Nationality:pakistani,Appeal no:VA/46780/2008,Address :319 G-2

    wapda town lahore Pakistan.My appeal was approved 02 march 2008,but Entry
    clearnce officer in nicosia cyprus was rufused my entry 14-05-09 and i am going
    back to my homecountry 22-05-09…….THE ENTRY CLEARNCE OFFICER,S REASONS AND
    SUPPORTINGS EVIDENCE:you applied entry clearnce on 19/06/2008 as a family
    visitor and your application resulated in being refused.you applead against your

    decsion and the immigration judge upheld your appeal.the british high commission

    ,nicosia was informed of this decsion.as a standard pratice in this office,local

    checks r carried out to ensure that your circumstances remain unchanged from
    those at the time of your appeal decsion.contact with your education provider
    was made and i was informed that you complated your studies in january 2009and
    have not continued your studies with them.furthemore,i also note that your
    cypriot temporary residence permit eppired on 30/09/08 and have remined in
    cyprus outside the immigration rule and only when you were notified of your
    allowed appeal ,did you than approach the local authorties to renew your expired

    resident visa.you stated the reason why u remain in cyprus was to wait for your
    u.k visa to be issued and than you planned to return to pakistan.you were
    refused on the basis that entry clearnces officer could not be satisfied of the
    progression of your studies in cyprus represented sufficient reason for u to
    return to cyprus.furthermore ,the entry clearnce officer also not be satisfied
    with the recent large deposits credited in to your account.the judge
    disagreed`with this concluded that given the evidence of the origin of the funds

    from your father-in-law allowed the appeal.as you no longer attend your studies
    and the facts that u r still remain in cyprus outside the immigration rules no
    longer studing and unemployed ,i am satisified that this represents a
    significant material change in your circumstances and therefore refuse your
    entry clearnce.ANSWER:1:my father-in-law (david walsh)wasn prison 2006 till
    now?plz verfiy that,prison name :hmp manchester south halls st strangeways
    manchester M60 9AH,number:Vj5438 name:david walsh,wing 3.05,my father friend was

    sending money through western-union-slipds to my holiday trip (money comes from
    republic of ireland i will shown receipts to british ambassy in nicosia
    cyprus.2:if i complated my studies in january 2009 ,why i will paid the fees to
    collage to extend my expiry visa on 18 dec 2008,if i am not studies?entry
    clearnce officer said when you notified your allowed appeal than you approach
    local authorties to extend your visa….???hearing date was 2 march 2009 ,i will

    paid the fees to extension my visa on 18 dec 2008?how should i know appeal was
    approved or refused???i am not in cyprus to waiting about my visa to go back to
    my homecountry?i do,n need a family visit visa to go back my homecountry?i will
    not seen my new born baby i will go back to pakistan to that,s why i apply the
    case??………………….1:THE ENTRY CLEARNCE OFFICER DUE TO HIS WRONG
    DECSION,MY FAMILY HAVE BEEN BROKEN AND I DEPIVED OF MY CHILD.2:YOU WOULD HAVE TO

    REVERSED YOUR DECSION SO THAT I CAN MEET MY CHILD(MIA AKHTAR…D.O.B:23 SEP
    2008)……PLZ REPLY BACK THINKS.

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: “Appeals.AbuDhabi@fco.gov.uk”
    To: lisaakhtar@yahoo.com
    Sent: Thu, June 3, 2010 9:18:23 AM
    Subject: RE: important case

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you for your email.

    Unfortunately we are unable to answer your enquires because we need further personal details such as full name, date of birth, passport number and application reference number.

    Head of Post Decision Team

    UKBAIG Abu Dhabi

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: lisa akhtar [mailto:lisaakhtar@yahoo.com]
    Sent: 31 May 2010 00:14
    To: Appeals Abu Dhabi (Protect)
    Subject: important case

    hi sir,i was married in pakistan 26 feb 2006 with my wife lisa walsh.she belong to britian.she was stay 4 months with me in pakistan.than i was apply the settlement case ,it was refused for some reasons.after 4 months she go back to manchester.than we contact each other through the letters,phone,e.mails etc.than after i get the visa in cyprus its a student visa.i will be in cyprus 05.oct, 2007,than she come to cyprus 07.oct,2007.we living together six months in cyprus,than she found pregent ,after six months she go back to eng to deliver the baby.i was apply family visit visa ,it was refused than it goes for appeal.she was standing on court behalf of me 02 march 2009,appeal was approved,but entry clearnce officer was refused my case 12.05.09 and i am going back to pakistan in 22.05.09.my appeal number:va/46780/2008.i never seen my daughter since when she born.my daughter called :mia akhtar,D.O.B:23 sep 2008,and she is living with my wife.my wife will married again in 8th feb 2010.i will not divorce her visa versa.i was ring marriage registrar office in manchester:the officer told me lisa was married on 8th feb 2010,but she told the registry officer :i was not marriage or engaged before?i was complian to( G.M.P)MY LOG NUMBER:809 9TH APRIAL.G.M.P will ring twice about my house number.G.M.P told my you just go to your local local police station and asked him to contact G.M.P,than we do something for u bec you r not in u.k.i will go several time my local police station but he told me incident was happend in u.k ,we can,t do anything for u.i will send my whole documents to u.k board agency 1-2 daooas court south langworthy rd salford M502GF.the received the letter on my behalf 8th aprial 2010.u.k board agency told me inform to (british counsial in lahore)….just get appointment to any entry clearnce officer in british counsial in lahore ,but in lahore centre its only collect the passport or documents and sending them to adudhadi.i am very hopeless.my name:usman akhtar,D.O.B:25 feb 1978 ,address:319 G2 wapda town lahore pakistan,contact:0092-42-35187619,nationality:pakistani,my wife:lisa walsh ,nationality:british,D.O.B:23 aprial 1985,addres:4 burnage court 16,burnage lane manchester M192HX,contact:0044-161-2253128.plz reply me as quickly as possible i am waiting for your reply thinks.

  4. […] More vicars arrested over alleged ‘fake marriages’ scam […]

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