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On-the-run fraudster Graham Haste jailed
A NORTH Yorkshire fraudster who spent 17 years on the run is today finally behind bars awaiting sentence.
Graham Nigel Haste, now 50, used a series of aliases and travelled between three countries as he tried to stop North Yorkshire Police finding out where he was.
But a former policeman tracked Haste through Spain and the Canary Islands back to Britain, where he was arrested again after first fleeing in September 1995.
Recorder Martin Bethel QC, who remanded Haste in custody while a pre-sentence report was prepared, said: “It is high time these matters are resolved.”
Retired Detective Constable Paul Somerville said the case showed that criminals on the run could never rest, no matter how long ago they committed their crimes.He now works as international liaison officer for North Yorkshire Police’s specialist operations unit and has other long-term absconders on his radar.
“With the contacts we have got now with the international police forces all over Europe, we are certainly able to track him,” he said. “Because he has family here, we always expected he would gain access to the UK under false pretences.”
Even though Haste, formerly of Leeds Road in Harrogate, set up a new UK base in Sleaford under a new name of Joseph Croft, that was not enough to hide him from the law. North Yorkshire Police had told every police force in the UK years ago that they were on the look-out for him.
Mr Somerville’s involvement in the case began in 1995 when, still a police officer, he investigated how Haste got two false passports under two false names to help him get out of the country instead of attending his trial at York Crown Court.
He faced charges of obtaining £11,700 finance by deception, evading repayment by deception, two charges each of driving a Jaguar while disqualified and without insurance and one of using a false number plate on the Jaguar.
He initially ran to Pureto Cabopino, a holiday resort near Malaga, Spain then later left there amid allegations that he owed 2,000 Euros in rent, and made his home in Tenerife, the Canary Islands.
But Mr Somerville was on his trail and Haste decided it would be better to move to Sleaford in Lincolnshire where he set up home with a family under the name Joseph Croft. Other aliases used during his time on the run included Graham Varszegi and Nigel Maximilian Devere.
His actions caught the eye of Lincolnshire trading standards, who called in Lincolnshire Police, and they in turn got in touch with North Yorkshire Police.
Haste pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining a passport by deception, the finance and repayment deceptions, all four driving charges and the false number plate charge.
Charges of forging a driving licence, handing stolen goods and theft of a television which Haste denies were left on his file.