Man jailed for providing false documents in Sheffield to allow unlawful immigrants to stay in UK

A man has been jailed after he provided false documents in Sheffield to allow numerous unlawful immigrants to stay in the UK.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 2:19 pm

Sheffield Crown Court heard on December 20 how Frank Oppong, aged 35, admitted possessing false identity documents in Sheffield to allow people who were unlawful immigrants and not UK citizens to remain in the country.

Recorder David Gordon said: “The defendant would assist those who had never had any legal right to be in the UK or had entered the UK illegally or their right to remain in the UK had expired.”

Giles Bridge, prosecuting, said Oppong committed the offences as immigrants applied through the European Union Settlement Scheme firstly with online applications with identity cards or passports submitted digitally with two images of the applicant.

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Frank Oppong, aged 35, admitted possessing false identity documents in Sheffield to allow people who were unlawful immigrants to remain in the country

This process would then be followed by the submission of identity documents and Oppong helped non-European citizens to make applications and he created fictitious French or Belgian identities with applicants claiming to be linked to Ghanaian spouses, according to Mr Bridge.

Mr Bridge said that when the Home Office immigration services requested documents Oppong would submit counterfeit identity documents in return for a fee.

He added there were up to 20 such applications with Oppong’s account revealing he had received £9,562 in payments from illegal applicants.

Mr Bridge said the offending came to light when identity documents submitted to the Home Office proved to be counterfeit and the Home Office was able to link them to the Post Office’s track-and-trace special delivery scheme and the defendant’s payment card showed he had paid for this scheme.

Oppong, of Siskin Close, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to possessing false French and Belgium identity documents in Sheffield to allow people who were not UK citizens to remain in the country, and he also admitted assisting in unlawfully allowing immigrants to stay in the UK. The offences were committed between September, 2020, and January, 2021.

Giles Grant, defending, said Oppong was not part of a wider group or organised crime gang and the applications were a series of attempts that were not successful.

Mr Grant added the applications were for people already in the UK rather than helping to bring people into the country and these people were part of his own community.

Former electrical engineer Oppong was born in Ghana and has lived in the UK for 10 years, according to Mr Grant, who said he has worked very hard and has a partner with a child.

Mr Grant said Oppong expresses remorse, asks for forgiveness and acknowledges the effect his imprisonment will have on his family. He said Oppong is determined to live a more meaningful life.

Recorder Gordon said: “There is very great concern among members of the public up and down the country with regards to illegal immigration into this country or over-staying in this country and there clearly needs to be public confidence in the public legislation and in its enforcement by police, the border agency and ultimately by the court.

"This kind of offending calls for deterrent sentences. The message needs to go out loud-and-clear that those caught in this way must expect prison sentences and prison sentences of some length.”

Recorder Gordon sentenced Oppong to four years and nine months of custody.

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