Police got their man
ELUSIVE Andrew Ross was eventually tracked down to Basingstoke, where he was living in a caravan on a friend's driveway.It marked the end of an 18-month search for Suffolk police detectives that took them the length and breadth of the country.
FORMER pub landlord Andrew Ross is behind bars today after destroying people's trust and stealing their Christmases.
And now The Evening Star can reveal how a year-and-a-half of police work paid off in the hunt for the man who ruined Christmas.
Today he is behind bars having been eventually tracked down to Basingstoke, where he was living in a caravan on a friend's driveway.
It marked the end of an 18-month search for Suffolk police detectives that took them the length and breadth of the country.
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And the saga ended yesterday when Ross was jailed for a year at Ipswich Crown Court.
Detective Constable Danny Mayhew revealed there were a number of near misses in the search for the 38-year-old.
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Tip offs from members of the public saw officers visit Great Yarmouth, Kent and several addresses in Sunderland, but without joy.
Clashes between Ipswich Town and Ross' beloved Sunderland were also closely monitored by detectives as it was known he was a keen follower of the Black Cats.
But was another anonymous tip-off that eventually led Suffolk police to their man.
Dc Mayhew said: "It was a bit like hunting for a needle in a haystack at first because he quickly went to ground. We did checks with friends and family and then put appeals out.
"It was then that we started to get bits and pieces in and we just missed him on a couple of occasions.
"As far as we were concerned, he'd taken all the steps he needed to take to make himself as hard to find as possible. He was living in a caravan and was using someone else's bank account. But it's never impossible to find to find someone and we weren't going to let this drop.
"The file was always on my desk and we never gave up. We kept making media appeals and it was a national appeal that tracked him down to Basingstoke. We had a piece of information from someone who knew him the area and it turned out he was living at an address that was not detectable.
"He had been working as a roof cladder in Basingstoke and had been living in a caravan in someone's driveway.
"We were extremely satisfied when he was caught because I dealt with a lot of people the day after they had realised their money had gone missing.
"The people I was speaking to had lost large amounts of money and were having to tell those around them that wouldn't be having a Christmas.
"A lot of his victims referred to him as a friend. He was a landlord a lot of customers had a laugh and joke with without knowing he would leave them in the lurch."
When it was established Ross was living in Basingstoke, officers from Hampshire police were sent down to arrest him. He was then brought back to Suffolk for further questioning.
Dc Mayhew said: "He came quietly in the end. He made no comment in any of his interviews and he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
"It's satisfying because it closes the case from our point of view and hopefully it will give some sort of closure to some of the customers."