A Dutch woman who tried to take part in a marriage scam with an illegal immigrant has been jailed for six months at Coventry Crown Court.
Eunice Ridderstap pleaded guilty to facilitating a breach of immigration law by entering into a sham marriage with a person from outside the European Union.
Acting on intelligence, UK Border Agency officers swooped on the Parish Church of St Albans in Stoke Heath, Coventry on 18 July just before Ridderstap was due to marry Vincent Akingbo, a Nigerian national.
The bride and bridegroom were arrested, and Akingbo was removed back to Nigeria in September.
UK Border Agency regional director Gail Adams said:
“This was a serious attempt to facilitate illegal entry into the UK. Our immigration crime teams across the West Midlands are cracking down hard on this type of abuse of our immigration system.
“We expect foreign nationals to play by the rules or we will take swift action. This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to prosecute and deport those involved in sham marriages.
“Identity cards for foreign nationals will prevent this sort of abuse in the future by locking individuals down to one identity through their facial image and fingerprints.”
In recent years the UK Border Agency has clamped down on sham marriages, with suspected sham marriages falling from over 3,500 in 2004 to under 400 in 2008.
Identity cards for foreign nationals are being introduced for an increasing range of migrants.
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