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Hunt on in Bradford for sham wedding woman
Police have launched an appeal to track down a Polish woman on the run despite being convicted of organising a series of sham marriages.
Detectives believe Andzelina Surmaj is somewhere in Bradford, the city where she had been living before she was sentenced to jail in her absence for three years and eight months after failing to turn up for a hearing at Burnley Crown Court.
Surmaj, a Roma gipsy who lived in Girlington Road, Girlington, charged illegal immigrants thousands of pounds to arrange bogus weddings to EU nationals so they could stay in the UK and arranged six sham marriages in East Lancashire and Manchester between December, 2008, and July, 2009.
Now police have released a picture of Surmaj and believe she may have returned to Bradford or the surrounding areas.
Det Con Kelly Rosenthal, of the UK Border Agency, said: “Our enquiries have shown that Surmaj is within the Bradford area – it is important she is apprehended to serve the sentence imposed on her for her criminality.
“I would appreciate any help the public can offer to help us find her – information can be left anonymously.”
The officer said anyone who knows where Surmaj might be should contact West Yorkshire police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
During the court hearing, Surmaj, 30, was described as an unemployed single mother, claiming for her four children, aged from 15 to 12 months, who lived in a detached three-bedroom bungalow she rented in Bradford.
She was arrested in March 2011 and charged alongside Czech national Milan Cina, 38, formerly of Lister Gardens, Manningham, who was jailed for five years for his part in the sham marriages.
Surmaj targeted fellow Eastern European women desperate for money she met at the gates of Whetley Primary School, Bradford, where her children were pupils.
The scam involved already-married women getting wed, with interchangeable brides and witnesses, some already related, at multiple weddings.
The pair promised the brides, normally the EU nationals, between £1,000 and £2,000, with the illegals charged up to £4,500.