Sham Weddings Immigration Scam Probed

Belfast Telegraph Northwest Edition

Sham weddings immigration scam probed
By Sarah Brett
19 July 2006

Detectives investigating reports of human trafficking in the North West are appealing for people who have been approached to take part in a sham wedding to contact them.

They want to talk to anyone who has been approached in the past four years by people from West Africa with an offer to set up sham weddings which would allow foreign nationals to gain residence in Northern Ireland.

Police believe that a number of people from West Africa with that intention have made contact with men and women in the North West since 2002.

“We want to stress that we would deal sensitively with anyone who has taken up such an offer or anyone who has received a similar proposition,” a police spokesman said today.

In June, two stepbrothers accused of being at the centre of an international gang involved in people trafficking were remanded at Derry Magistrates Court.

Alexander Success (28), of Waterfoot Park, Derry, and Akeem Olugbenga Shittu (29), of Lohunda Crescent, Dublin, pleaded not guilty when charged with facilitating the entry into the UK of an illegal immigrant.

A police officer told the court that in 2005 Success had been stopped at Heathrow and found to be in possession of two Nigerian identification documents and a false passport.

Success has admitted to using various names and changed his name by deed poll in Nigeria.

Anyone able to assist police with their investigation is asked to contact detectives at the CARE Unit at Maydown police station. The number to ring is 028 7186 1355.