- OP Xtreme
- Business & Finance
- Crime & Law
- Food Drink
- News Features
- Eating Out
- Andalucia Property Search
More sex fiends on the loose
• WANTED: Peter Wheatherley
By James Bryce
NEARLY 850 registered sex offenders are on the run from police in the UK, raising fears that some may have fled to Spain.
Almost 700 of them have been missing for more than a year, with the number of offenders who have vanished more than doubling in just two years.
The figures have been released after a freedom of information request was put in by campaigners in the UK.
Currently the 37,000 people on the UK sex offenders register do not have to notify police if going on holiday for less than three days.
Spain has traditionally been seen as a safe haven for criminals looking to go undetected, particularly as the country has no sex offenders register.
Under Spanish law, offenders only receive an initial visit from police at their home and are not monitored or watched until they are suspected of a crime.
This has prompted fears that many British sex offenders simply disappear into the anonymity of large expat communities.
“They change their name and settle in a busy area around fellow tourists and expats and can live there undetected,” said a spokesman for the Independent Association of the Guardia Civil.
As Spain-based private detective Roy Whitehouse added: “Spain is traditionally a hideout for UK criminals as it is fairly easy to blend in.”
He added that they usually changed their appearance and used new names via fake passports.
The former Scotland Yard detective added: “It is vital to keep a close eye on anyone acting suspiciously with children, and immediately report any suspicious behaviour.”
Christine Beddoe, of child protection charity Ecpat UK, told the Olive Press in 2010: “We’ve got to stop these people from abusing children abroad.
“The police have the powers to stop them travelling. They must use them.”
The Olive Press has worked hard to identify wanted sex offenders over the last few years.
Anyone suspicious should visit www.crimestoppers.co.uk or contact [email protected] if you suspect anyone living near you.
Reader Comments »
Messages will be moderated or deleted if they:
• Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others
• Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable
• Contain swear words or other language likely to offend
• Break the law or condone or encourage unlawful activity. This includes breach of copyright, defamation and contempt of court
• Advertise products or services for profit or gain
• Are seen to impersonate someone else
• Include contact details such as phone numbers, postal or email addresses
• Describe or encourage activities which could endanger the safety or well-being of others