A COUPLE have appeared in court accused of fraudulently claiming £170,000 in benefits after entering the country illegally.
Mohammed Zakariya Wadiwala and his wife Zenabbibi Wadiwala appeared before Blackburn Magistrates yesterday charged with several immigration and fraud offences.
The pair, of Oaklands Terrace, Blackburn, are alleged to have fraudulently claimed benefits since they illegally entered the UK in 2007.
He is charged with entering the UK without leave, fraudulently claiming financial and other support for himself and their five children and possessing false documents, including a National Asylum Seekers Service card, fraudulently obtaining a UK driving licence.
He is also charged with deceptively seeking leave to remain in the UK by claiming he was called Jakir Sheikh, the dependant of Shabnam Sheikh.
His wife is alleged to have claimed she was called Shabnam Sheikh, the dependant of Jakir Sheikh, and possessing improperly obtained identity cards and fraudulently trying to obtain financial and other support.
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Mohammed, 41, and Zenabbibi, 43, were sent on bail to Preston Crown Court where they will appear on May 21.
The case comes as the Home Office is carrying out a crackdown appealing for people to report anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally.
Karen McDonough, assistant director at the Home Office, said information from the public was a ‘huge help’ to workers tackling illegal immigration.
She said: “I would urge anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can report their suspicions in confidence or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.