25th November 2009: Just over a fortnight after the UK Border Agency announced its teams of police officials have teamed up with immigration staff to investigate and tackle the menace of sham marriages, the government made it clear the bogus wives were being removed from the UK.
The UK Border Agency Regional Director Gail Adams said they have already removed from the country one of the four women arrested in September and are taking steps to remove the remaining bogus brides from the United Kingdom as soon as possible.
Adams said over recent years the agency has clamped down on sham marriages. As a result, the suspected sham marriages had fallen from over 3,500 in 2004 to under 400 in 2008.
The assertion came after a Jamaican woman who took part in a massive marriage scam in the West Midlands was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court
Verona Walters, 33, of Birmingham New Road, Coseley was convicted after pleading guilty to conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law.
She was arrested on 16 September 2009 at a training centre in Wolverhampton as part of an operation carried out by the UK Border Agency’s immigration crime team and West Midlands police.
Walters was one of five women, all Jamaican nationals, arrested by immigration and police officers during a series of raids across Birmingham and the Black Country.
Adams added this was a serious and organised attempt to facilitate illegal entry into the UK. All of the people who have been convicted were in it for either personal profit or to secure a UK passport.
He said the immigration crime teams across the West Midlands were cracking down hard on this type of abuse of our immigration system.
‘Today’s sentence and those before it send out a clear deterrent to others thinking of perpetrating immigration crime here in the UK. We will seek to deport Verona Walters to Jamaica as soon as she has served her sentence,’ he added.