Three people arrested on suspicion of staging a sham wedding ceremony in Larne have appeared in court today charged with immigration offences.
Acting on intelligence, UK Border Agency officers interrupted a suspected sham wedding between a Portuguese woman and a Bangladeshi national from taking place in Larne yesterday (Monday).
Naydyne Botelho, a 26-year-old Portuguese national, appeared before Antrim Magistrates Court today charged with three counts of assisting unlawful immigration, (two counts of bigamy related to multiple marriages). She was remanded in custody to re-appear at Larne Magistrates Court on 27 April.
Maria Auxilia Barbosa Dos Santos, 32, and, Carina Patricia Fana Da Silva Rodrigues, 28, who are both Portuguese nationals and were to be witnesses to the planned wedding appeared at the same court charged with assisting unlawful immigration.
Maria Dos Santos was remanded in custody to re-appear at Ballymena magistrates Court on 19 April. Carina Rodrigues was bailed to appear at Larne Magistrates Court on 11 May.
Mohammad Rahman a 29-year-old Bangladeshi national is due to appear at Coleraine Magistrates Court tomorrow (Wednesday) charged with seeking to obtain leave to remain in the UK by deception.
A fifth person was released on bail while the UK Border Agency carries out further enquiries.
A sham marriage typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area, or the UK, as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in this country.
Earl Aiken, senior criminal investigator for the UK Border Agency said,
“These arrests are the result of intensive investigations into suspected sham marriages by our team of specialist immigration officers and shows the lengths criminals will go to when committing their crimes.”
Anyone who has information about suspicious marriages or other forms of immigration abuse should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be assured or visit http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/