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UKBA trains vicars to spot sham marriages

Holds half day session

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20th September 2010: Vicars are on the training list. The Church of England vicars are receiving training from UK Border Agency officers to help them identify fraudulent weddings.

A half-day session held recently included tips on how to establish whether a relationship was genuine.

The clergymen and women from the Diocese of Chelmsford were also shown how to spot fake identity documents and household bills by the agency’s specialist forgery staff.
 
UK Border Agency deputy area director Tony Erne said: ‘We understand that it is not always easy to spot fake documents, and that is why we are happy to work with the Diocese of Chelmsford to provide some basic training.’

The training session on 16 September follows dozens of operations by the UK Border Agency in the last few months to stop suspected sham marriages from taking place.

Earlier this month, a vicar was among 3 men jailed for staging hundreds of sham marriages in East Sussex. Revd Alex Brown was found guilty of conspiring to facilitate breaches in immigration law, in what is thought to be the largest sham marriage scam ever uncovered in Britain.

Only recently, sham marriages left a vicar behind bars. A Church of England vicar was among three jailed for staging hundreds of sham marriages in East Sussex.

Reverend Alex Brown was found guilty of conspiring to facilitate breaches in immigration law in July, alongside two other men, Ukrainian national Vladymyr Buchak and lawyer Michael Adelasoye, following an eight week trial.

Brown had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying out marriage ceremonies without banns of matrimony being published.

Judge Richard Hayward sentenced the three to four years each. Brown also received five months for failing to publish banns, while Buchak was given nine months for possessing a false identity document. These sentences are to run concurrently.

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