London

Forest Gate clergymen charged in sham marriages inquiry

Two east London clergymen have been charged in connection with a sham marriages inquiry.

The Rev Brian Shipsides, 54, and the Rev Elwon John, 44, are alleged to have conducted around 200 bogus marriages at All Saints Church, Forest Gate, between December 2007 and July 2010.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said most of the alleged fake unions were between EU and non-EU residents.

The pair will appear at Stratford Magistrates' Court next Friday.

They are charged with conspiring to facilitate entry and to obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK in breach of immigration law.

The two men were suspended from their Church of England duties last year after UK Border Agency officials and police raided their homes.

Mr Shipsides, of the vicarage in Claremont Road, was the priest in charge at All Saints in Hampton Road and St Edmunds in Katherine Road.

Mr John, of Kennedy Road, Barking, was associate minister for both churches.

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