A FUGITIVE on the run from Sussex police has been locked up in a Thai jail.
Paul Ridden fled the UK after being bailed over a string of offences and was put on a Serious Organised Crime Agency list of wanted people – only to resurface 6,000 miles away last week.
His original UK arrest was in relation to 10 counts of suspected fraud, illegally sub-letting 40 properties and obtaining up to £20,000 by deception over a two-year period.
But the 58-year-old was arrested by police in Phuket, Thailand, and subsequently held at Chalong Police Station on suspicion of outstaying his visa and fraud, amid claims he had cheated a fellow ex-pat out of 75,000 baht, around £1,566.
Sources in Thailand claim Ridden has been involved in a scam involving illegally sub-letting cars and scooters to tourists.
And earlier this week, a spokesman for Chalong Police Station said, “He (Ridden) has been convicted at Phuket Provincial Court to one month in jail for an illegal stay in Thailand and for fraud in Phuket.
“He was wanted by Sussex Police. For this reason he was sentenced lightly so he can be brought back to England for investigation.”
The Foreign Office said it was unable to confirm whether or not Ridden, who is from Eastbourne, had been convicted of any offence but said it was aware he had been remanded in custody and said it would support him where necessary.
Sussex Police was still unaware of any concrete details regarding Ridden’s status but Detective Inspector Paul Phelps said the force was keen to catch up with him.
He said, “Mr Ridden is wanted by Sussex Police for offences of fraud. Should he return to the UK he will be arrested.
“I am not aware of him being detained in Thailand by the Thai authorities, and it has not been at our request, but clearly we would welcome their assistance in his return to the UK.”