The women, generally Eastern Europeans, are in Britain legally because they come from countries such as Poland or Slovakia, which are part of the European Union.In exchange for £1,000 or so in cash, they marry complete strangers from Africa. By marrying an EU citizen, those immigrants — many here illegally — hoped to win the right to stay permanently in this country. They view the marraige certificate as a ‘golden ticket’, because with the right to remain comes the right to claim benefits — at a starting rate of £10,000 a year.The true extent of the problem came to light earlier this week when two masterminds behind a major bogus marriage ring were sentenced to a total of eight years and eight months in prison.But though they have been taken off the streets, an investigation can reveal that, if anything, the number of sham marriages in Britain is set to increase. Why? Because rules introduced to crack down on them had to be dropped last year. The reason? A series of Strasbourg judgments in cases brought by immigrants ruled that carrying out targeted checks on foreigners from outside the EU who wanted to marry here was discriminatory and in breach of their human rights.‘We see couples getting married who cannot speak to each other. There will be a Pakistani man and a Lithuanian woman. Neither speaks much English. The Pakistani cannot speak Lithuanian and the Lithuanian cannot speak Urdu. It is an absolute nonsense. ‘Just today we had the most unlikely mix of nationalities marrying — I would have said four of today’s six weddings were shams. And I would estimate that around 500 of the 2,000 marriages in Brent each year are bogus. ‘All we can do is report our suspicions to the UK Border Agency. Their enforcement action has increased, but they are never going to catch everyone. There are lots getting away with it.’ Extrapolate the figures from Brent across 33 London boroughs and you soon realise that as many as 15,000 bogus marriages are probably taking place every year in the capital alone. Take in the rest of the country and who knows what the true figure — or cost to the taxpayer — really is. Today, Milan Cina, a Czech-born Roma gypsy and one of the fixers behind the wedding scam in the news this week, is beginning his first weekend behind bars in a British prison. Together with his one-time girlfriend, Andzelina Surmaj, a Pole also from a Roma background, he recruited the participants and helped arrange the ceremonies.