Four jailed for total of 11 years after immigration and passport scam conviction
JAIL: Anwara and Shohidul Islam
THREE men and a woman are starting jail sentences totalling 11 years after being convicted of an immigration and passports scam run from a quiet semi-detached house in Burnley.
Husband-and-wife Shohidul and Anwara Islam were caught out when immigration officers arrived at their Leamington Avenue home looking for Bangladeshi man Shafik Miah, who was believed to have remained in the UK illegally.
The couple claimed he had gone back to Bangladesh but officers found him hidden under a pile of suitcases behind a fake wall in the loft, a trial at the town’s Crown Court was told.
Prosecutors said a stash of fake documents was also found and these ranged from counterfeit, doctored or “lost or stolen” passports and National Insurance cards, in the names of various Bangladeshi nationals.
The Islams denied a charge of assisting unlawful immigration and 11 offences of possessing an identity document with improper intention but were convicted after a trial.
Under the same probe, immigration officers later detained Abdul Shahid, a frequent sponsor of Bangladeshi arrivals, who runs a restaurant in Bolton, and his nephew Mohammed Amin Uddin. Shahid and Uddin faced the 11 document offences and were also convicted.
Before the trial, Uddin had admitted possession of a false National Insurance card and a false Bangladeshi passport in his own name.
Jurors heard that when the original raid took place, Anwara Islam had tried to stall immigration officers before Miah, whose six-month British visa expired in October 2011, was found.
Neil Holt, an immigration officer, giving evidence, said: “I spoke to Anwara Islam and she said: ‘I am sorry. Shafik cannot go back to Bangladesh — he is in dang“
I asked why she had not contacted the Home Office and who was it that helped Shafik Miah. She made no comment.”
The raid, as well as unearthing the false passports and identity cards, also revealed 270 pages of documentation, mainly relating to Abdul Shahid and Bangladeshi immigration matters.
Prosecutors said that various references were made to Shahid’s former home in Eastern Street, Burnley, his current address in Bar Street, and the Sunar Gaw restaurant, which he owned or used to own, in Bolton.
Shohidul Islam was jailed for five-and-a-half years and Anwara Islam for 27 months. Uddin, 42, also of Bar Street, was jailed for 27 months and Shahid for 30 months.Four Bangladeshi nationals were sponsored by the restaurant in 2004 and paperwork related to their cases.