The United Kingdom Border Agency (BBA) has intensified efforts to catch up on illegal and bogus marriages following the determination of the British government to stem the tide of Bogus marriages.
Operation Sandford, which was introduced last March has already caught up with more than 12 victims of bogus marriages and the government is warning that it’s determined to deal severely with all erring foreigners.
Apart from bogus marriages, Operation Sandford also aims to clamp down on all established illegal colleges, organised human traffickers and illegal workers.
In recent times, there had been reports of stop and search activities by the Metropolitan police who had stormed various locations including train stations across the capital.
Earlier in the week, a Nigerian bogus partner and his French woman accomplice were the latest people to be jailed following the Agencies discovery that their marriage was a bogus one.
UK Border Agency in recent times had focussed it’s attention on investigating bogus marriages in various cities Arrests were made recently in Northampton.
Nigerian Moshood Sanusi, who had overstayed his visa, and his fake French bride, Landry Tra, were given two and a half years each.
Although both couple pleaded guilty to immigration offences at Northampton Crown Court, the handed out punishment was aimed at serving as a deterrent to other under the illusions of securing stability in the UK under fake and bogus covers.
The duo will be deported to their respective countries after serving their sentences.
A statement from the British Deputy High Commission in Nigeria claimed the conviction of Moshood and Landry brings the total combined sentences for 12 bogus marriage victims to since March this year to 26.
They were all apprehended during Operation Sandford..
Sanusi, 39, and Tra, 21, according to a statement were arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency’s immigration crime team on 14 March while their marriage ceremony was under way in St Michael’s Church, Perry Street, Northampton.
Landry Tra had confessed that she agreed to marry Sanusi for a payment of £3,500. Samusi of Fairmead House, Kingsmead Estate, Hackney, hoped that his marriage to a French national would have assisted his application to remain in the UK.
Sam Bullimore, UK Border Agency assistant director, said: “Tackling sham marriage is a top priority for us and our immigration crime teams are working hard to create a hostile environment for those who break the immigration laws.
“We are working closely with registrars and the Church to identify suspect marriages. Where there is evidence to suggest that a wedding may be bogus we will investigate and, where necessary, intervene to stop it happening.
“People should be under no illusion that marriage is enough to get permission to stay in the UK. Their relationship has to be genuine. If it’s not, they will face prosecution or deportation.”
Operation Sandford has uncovered a series of sham marriages taking place at Holy Sepulchre and St Michaels churches, mainly between West Africans and EU nationals from countries including France, Portugal and Holland.