Sham weddings gang jailed

Sheffield Crown Court Photo: Calendar

A father-who ran a huge international sham marriage operation from his family home in Rotherham has been jailed to 6 years behind bars

Talib Hussain, 42, flew Eastern European women to Islamabad for bogus weddings with Pakistani men, who could then apply to live in the UK under European open borders laws.

Helped by his ex-wife, Rahina Zaman, he orchestrated the "huge, well-organised, professional operation" from his suburban semi in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

More than 60 applications for UK visas were submitted to authorities, accompanied by fake documents and photos of the bogus weddings. But the UK Border Agency became suspicious when they noticed the same people appeared in many of the photos - and the same clothes were being swapped between brides, grooms and guests to make the pictures look genuine.

The couple and seven other members of the network appeared at Sheffield Crown Court and have been sentenced for a total of 18 years and ten months for immigration offences.

Judge Rosalind Coe QC jailed Hussain, saying he was the "hub" of the operation and his house on Broom Grove, Rotherham, was the "engine room".

This was a very large, well organised, professional operation involving very many people.

At the very hub of this conspiracy and running the operation was Talib Hussain and others.

– Judge Rosalind Coe QC

She jailed Zaman for two-and-a-half years.

All eighteen people involved in the scam were sentenced to a combined 28 years behind bars.

Hussain, who is a Pakistani national, and Zaman, who is British, both admitted conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Prosecutors told the judge that by marrying women from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Britain, the Asian men would have been eligible to move to Europe, and wanted to live in the UK. But the court heard none of the applications by Pakistani nationals to enter or remain in the UK were successful.