Vicar jailed for UK spouse visa sham

03 Apr 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A parish vicar has been sentenced to four and a half years in jail for his role in a

UK spouse visa


Reverend Brian Shopsides, 56, charged £140 for each bogus ceremony he conducted at the All Saints Church in East London, helping around 250 illegal immigrants to stay in the country.

The reverend managed to rake in more than £30,000 through his charges for conducting weddings for UK spouse visas, on top of his regular salary and home, which were paid for by the church.

David Walbank, prosecuting in the case, observed: “Sadly it seems the Reverend Shipsides’ motive was financial. He collected a large amount of money and instead of declaring the sums, he pocketed the fees.”

The Daily Mail reported that he added: “Most of the so-called couples participated in these marriage ceremonies were not actually couples at all … Their ultimate purpose was to obtain enhanced rights to enter and live in the United Kingdom.”

The trial took place at the Inner London Crown Court and saw the reverend admit to conspiracy to facilitate breaches of UK immigration laws between December 2007 and August 2010. He will also face internal disciplinary proceedings within the church.