A man who tried to sell his "vulnerable" sister to a Chinese man in a sham marriage scheme was jailed for four years today.

Michael Wright, 22, Wright, of Bricksteed Avenue, Devizes, accompanied his sister, who has learning difficulties, to Reading Register Office, Berkshire, for the wedding to the immigrant, whose visa was due to run out.

Wright was arrested with groom-to-be Ligang Qiao, 29, before the ceremony could begin on August 20 last year, after a registrar became suspicious.

He had been hoping to receive GBP8,000 for his part in the plot, which would allow Qiao to stay in the UK when his visa ran out.

Wright had himself married Li Fan, 33, in another sham marriage the previous year, for which he was paid GBP4,000.

He had met her, boyfriend Bing Liu and Qiao when they worked at the same Berkshire burger bar, and the group all plotted to arrange the marriage for Wright's sister.

Fan and Liu, 30, were arrested at their Reading home hours after Wright's sister's wedding was due to take place.

All four were given custodial sentences at Reading Crown Court today.

Detective Inspector Andy Cummins of the UK Border Agency said outside court: "This was a despicable crime. Michael Wright attempted to exploit a member of his own family for his own financial gain. His motive was purely greed.

"The other members of the gang also sought to take advantage of a vulnerable woman for their own benefit.

"The sentences handed down today show how seriously we, and the courts, take these kinds of attempts to undermine our immigration laws."

Wright previously admitted two counts of assisting unlawful entry into the UK and two counts of perjury, while Qiao admitted two counts of perjury and was jailed for 15 months.

Fan admitted obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception, and two counts of perjury, and received an 18-month jail sentence. Her boyfriend Liu admitted attempting to assist illegal immigration into the UK and was jailed for two years.

The Chinese nationals will be recommended for deportation after serving their sentences.