More than 480 people wanted by police

HUNDREDS of suspected criminals - including accused rapists, robbers and violent offenders - could be walking Suffolk's streets today because police have not enforced warrants for their arrest.

HUNDREDS of suspected criminals - including accused rapists, robbers and violent offenders - could be walking Suffolk's streets today because police have not enforced warrants for their arrest.

Suffolk police has 486 “wanted” people at large because they have skipped bail and failed to appear at court and 53 of these are “grade A” cases - where the accused are alleged to have committed the most serious arrestable offences.

Gerry Leader, Suffolk's director of criminal justice services, said the force made “every effort” to bring wanted persons before the courts and worked with other police forces in the country in a bid to catch them.

He said: “The number of warrants awaiting execution for persons who have failed to appear at courts in Suffolk as at October 1 stands at 486, of which 53 relate to those graded as 'A'.

“Two hundred and three of these warrants relate to persons who have given addresses outside Suffolk and their details have been circulated to the relevant police force to assist in tracing the individual.

“In addition it is known that some of the wanted persons who had given addresses in Suffolk are now resident abroad and efforts are being made to trace them.”

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Among those on the list is Ipswich paedophile Clive Butcher who skipped bail in April 2005 after he was accused of having 1,689 indecent images of children on his computer.

The 41-year-old was convicted in his absence and a manhunt was launched which featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme in September.

There were suggestions he may have moved to Spain but police are yet to trace him.

Mr Leader said officers are made aware of those wanted on warrants, particularly community police officers.

He added: “Details of all persons who are wanted on non-appearance warrants are circulated to beat officers in the area where the person is believed to reside for enquires to be made to trace them and details entered on the Police National Computer.

“Every effort is made in Suffolk to bring persons wanted on warrant to the courts at the earliest opportunity.”

If the county is to meet national targets, the number of outstanding warrants in the county needs to drop by 61, to 425.

WEBLINKS

www.suffolk.police.uk

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