Barking vicar in court on sham marriage charge

Two clergymen have appeared in court over claims they conducted sham marriages.

Reverends Brian Shipsides, 54, and Elwon John, 44, of are alleged to have conducted around 200 phoney ceremonies between December 2007 and July 2010.

The pair, who served at churches in Forest Gate, are charged with conspiring to facilitate entry to obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK, writes MATT NICHOLLS.

The offence carries a maximum jail term of 14 years on conviction.

Both vicars have been suspended from their duties at All Saints Church in Romford Road and St Edmund’s in Katherine Road by the Church of England.

They appeared before Stratford magistrates on Friday, where they spoke only to confirm their names and addresses.

Both have yet to enter a plea.

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Shipsides, of Claremont Road, Forest Gate, and John, of Kennedy Road, Barking, were bailed to appear at Inner London Crown Court on April 8.

They were both ordered not to attend All Saints or St Edmund’s and not to contact church authorities or each other.