Lancashire

Accrington church used for two sham weddings

A Lancashire church was the scene for two sham marriages involving eastern European brides, a court was told.

Burnley Crown Court heard that St Andrew's Church, Accrington, was used in May 2009 by Czech national Nadesa Mirgova, 26, to marry illegally.

Then in June 2009 Nigerian Adegboyega Aderinsoye Adekunle illegally married Slovakian Ingrid Gulasova there.

All three appeared for sentencing after each admitting charges related to flouting UK immigration rules.

Adekunle, 36, who was living in London at the time of his marriage, was jailed for 21 months for perjury, identity card offences and seeking leave to remain by deception.

Gulasova, 38, had her sentencing adjourned until 11 February.

Mirgova was sentenced to 16 months for perjury and assisting unlawful immigration.

'Stamp out crime'

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said they had come across several cases of sham marriages were non-Europeans had married someone from the EU to try to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits.

Dave Magrath, head of the UK Border Agency's immigration crime team in the North West, said: "The UK Border Agency will not hesitate to take action to stamp out this type of crime.

"We have specialist teams of immigration officers and police working to investigate cases just like this to ensure people are not able to benefit from breaking the UK's immigration laws."

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