A BLACKBURN man took part in a sham marriage to a Vietnamese woman in return for payment, it has been claimed.

As a result of Jason Procter’s register office ceremony, his bride, who worked at a nail bar, got a visa to remain in this country.

An official witness at his wedding was his best friend, Kevin Donnelly, who had earlier gone through a fake marriage himself, which he had admitted, a jury at Preston Crown Court was told yesterday.

Procter, 40, claims his union, which took place on May 25, 2010, was a genuine love match, but the Crown claims it was just a sham. Procter, of Princess Street, Blackburn, denies a charge of assisting unlawful immigration to a member state.

It is claimed he entered into a sham marriage with a woman called Le Thi Le Quyen, at Blackburn Register Office.

Elizabeth Nicholls, prosecuting, said Le Quyen had been in this country on a short-term student visa.

She worked at a nail bar called Miss Nails, where the manager/owner was another Vietnamese lady, Trang Luu, who ran a number of nail bars – one in Blackburn, another in Chorley, and one in Preston.

Back in October 2008, Procter’s best friend Mr Donnelly had gone through a marriage with Ms Luu, which was a complete sham. Following Procter’s wedd-ing, in May 2010, the bride and groom went their separate ways, with him continuing to live as a single man, in Princess Street, suggests the prosecution. His bride lived either in Preston, or somewhere in London.

In October 2010, a marriage took place between another Miss Nails employee and a female customer called Amanada Nolan, who has also admitted to it being a fake wedding. Police became suspicious. On April 15 last year, police went to his Princess Street home, where Procter was in bed with another woman, Toni Mitchell.

It appeared cash sums had been paid into his bank account following his wedding.

Miss Nicholls added “He was interviewed and effectively said the marriage was a totally genuine affair and that he loved Le Quyen. He said they had not been able to take a honeymoon as they had not been able to afford it, but hoped they would save up to visit her relatives in Vietnam sometime around Christmas. There was considerable text communication between him and Toni Mitchell, but only sporadic to his beloved wife down in London.”

The trial continues.