Mother jailed for living in Norwich illegally

Sam EmanuelA Bangladeshi mother who has been living in Norwich illegally has been jailed for six months and will be deported on her release.Sam Emanuel

A Bangladeshi mother who has been living in Norwich illegally has been jailed for six months and will be deported on her release.

Israt Shimme, 32, of Silver Street, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday for sentencing after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud relating to false aspects of her passport and identity card.

Stephen Poole, prosecuting, told the court that the mother-of-two came to the UK lawfully in 1997, but never made a lawful application to stay beyond that and so was unlawfully living in the country.

He said: 'Her husband is currently serving 12 months in prison for similar immigration offences. The accused had applied by post for a national insurance number from the Department of Work and Pensions.

'She was allocated an officer and provided a recent utility bill and her passport, but questions were raised about its validity.

'She had signed something saying it was genuine, but although it was found to be a genuine Bangladeshi passport, it had a forged immigration officer date stamp, a forged Home Office time limit stamp and a forged authorising date stamp.

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'On two occasions the immigration officer has tried to assist her return to Bangladesh without going to court but these attempts were declined. In interview, she told the interviewing officer that a 'friend' had organised the paperwork for her to remain in the UK, although she declined to identify the friend.'

Guy Ayers, defending, said any period of imprisonment would have incredibly negative consequences for Shimme's children, who are aged one and four, and asked for a 'mercifully short' sentence to be passed.

He said: 'She now wishes to go home with her children to Bangladesh. It's her assertion that if that was what the immigration authorities had been trying to put forward before, she hadn't understood what had been put to her.'

Sentencing her to six months in custody for each offence, to run concurrently, Recorder Christopher Makey said: 'These are both very serious offences - passport-related offences are of very considerable concern.

'You have been working with your husband in his greengrocers in Cowgate, Norwich, for a period of time, which shows you have taken a firm decision to live and work here when you were not allowed to do so.'

Shimme will be deported to Bangladesh with her family on her release.