Home Office pressure continues from Star

HOME Officials today said they have still not compiled a geographic breakdown of overseas criminals freed without being considered for deportation.

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HOME Officials today said they have still not compiled a geographic breakdown of overseas criminals freed without being considered for deportation.

On Monday The Evening Star reported how civil servants did not have a clue how many of the 1,023 prisoners recommended for repatriation had lived in Suffolk.

Conservative MP for South Suffolk Tim Yeo, who pledged to table a parliamentary question asking for information on breakdowns by county, today said he is currently awaiting a reply after being “astonished” the figures were not available.

To compound the situation, the day after our front page it was revealed by new Home Secretary John Reid that the number of most serious offenders involved in the debacle has risen to at least 150 and the picture could become “even worse”.

He disclosed the final figure may increase to several hundred if armed robbers are included among the most serious category. Initially the figure was thought to be 79, and was last week updated to 90. Mr Reid indicated that armed robbery should be included in the most serious category, which would boost the total even further.

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Despite it being almost three weeks since the scandal broke - and seven days on from The Evening Star's request for a breakdown by county - a Home Office spokeswoman today confirmed it had no idea when the figures would be available. She said the information was still being worked on.

A 60-strong team of police, probation, prisons and immigration staff in Portsmouth are leading the effort to track down the 1,023 foreigners.

Suffolk police have said they will provide support and co-operation. As of last week there was no current intelligence to suggest any of the wanted foreign nationals resided in Suffolk.

Do you think Suffolk has a right to know if any of the criminals are from the county? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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