A husband and wife who both married other people in a bid to stay in the UK have both walked free from court.
Illegal immigrants Omorodion and Mercy Idehen took part in sham weddings in Hyndburn.
The parents-of-three, who are Nigerian nationals, are only the second and third people to be spared jail in a string of sham marriage convictions at Burnley Crown Court.
Nine people have been locked up for a total of almost 13 years in connection with sham marriages at two Accrington churches - St Peter’s and St Andrew’s.
The pair who live in the Moston area of Manchester kept their freedom after agreeing to give evidence against a co-accused in the scam.
The defendants were said to have paid out £9,000 for what they thought would give them the green light to stay here, but now face deportation.
Mercy Idehen, 44, a cook, and her partner, 46, were both of previous good character.
They each admitted obtaining or seeking to obtain leave to enter or remain in the UK by deception and perjury, by providing false addresses for the marriages and signing the register.
The pair each received 52 weeks in jail, suspended for a year.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said the defendants had been through a traditional African wedding.
They arrived in this country illegally in 2003/2004 from Italy and have children aged nine, 10 and 12. Omorodion Idehen married a woman from the Czech Republic, at St Peter’s Church, Accrington, on April 25, 2009.
On March 30, they had attended the vicarage and Idehen had completed an affidavit, putting forward an address on Orange Street, Accrington.
Documents were submitted to confirm identity and the Accrington address. The house belonged to a wholly unrelated person, who had never heard of either party.
Mr Parker said an application for residency in the UK was received by the Home Office from the defendant in July 2009, based on his marriage to an EU national.
Mercy Idehen attended at St Peter’s in May 2009 and completed an affidavit in support of a marriage, claiming she lived at Albert Street in the town.
She wed Josef Badzo at All Saints Church, Clayton-le-Moors On June 6.
The prosecutor said when the defendants were interviewed, they said they had not gone looking for sham marriages, but had been approached by people who suggested it to them and organised the marriages.
Bunty Batra, for Omorodion Idehen, said the defendants, who suffered severe racism in Italy, had been the victims of the offences to some degree.
He continued: "They were preyed upon by others for financial gain, others who have profited from their vulnerability."
Bob Sastry, defending Mercy Idehen, said she came here for a better life.
She worked for very little money and was a dedicated mother.
The defendant was one of 25 children. The barrister added: "She herself had a very, very difficult upbringing in Nigeria."
Judge Beverley Lunt, who has sentenced all the other Accrington area sham marriage defendants and locked up all but one, said the case had certain exceptional circumstances and not just the length of time the Idehens had been in the UK without breaking the law.
The judge said an unusual feature of the case was that both had attended court the day before to appear as witnesses in the case of a co-accused and he had pleaded guilty, no doubt as a result. Judge Lunt said: "I have only so far come across one other case so exceptional in the many I have had to sentence in the past few months."
She added: "It will be a matter for the Home Office to determine what process is to be undergone for your deportation."