Vicar jailed over sham marriages

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A Church of England vicar was jailed for four-and-a-half years yesterday for presiding over nearly 250 sham marriages in a "massive and systematic" immigration fraud.

The Rev Brian Shipsides, 56, conducted the bogus unions at his parish in east London and prosecutors claim he pocketed more than £30,000.

The nuptials – largely between Nigerians and European Union citizens – gave the "couples" the right to stay in Britain.

Inner London Crown Court heard the ceremonies were held at All Saints Church in Forest Gate over two-and-a-half-years.

They were arranged with the help of "marriage fixer" Amudalat Ladipo, 32, who was jailed for three years earlier this year.

Shipsides admitted conspiracy to facilitate breaches of immigration law at an earlier hearing.

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