In Brief

Mark Acklom: who is UK’s most wanted conman and what did he do?

Fugitive in custody in Switzerland following police swoop

The UK’s most wanted fraud suspect Mark Acklom has been arrested in a raid on his hideout in Switzerland, after more than two years on the run.

The 45-year-old was tracked down to a luxury apartment in Zurich, where he had been living under a false name with his wife and two children, Avon and Somerset Police said.

Acklom reportedly tried to jump from a balcony when officers arrived at his rented home on Saturday night to arrest him, before being wrestled to the ground, according to i news.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued for the conman in June 2016. He was believed to be in Spain, after being released from a Spanish prison where he served time for an unrelated £200,000 property scam.

Acklom was named as one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives as part of Operation Captura, a multi-agency initiative involving the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Crimestoppers to track down British fugitives abroad, says The Guardian.

He is now in custody awaiting extradition to the UK, where he will appear in court in relation to 20 fraud offences, 12 of converting or removing criminal property and eight of fraud by false representation.

The most high-profile of Acklom’s suspected offences was a romance scam in which he allegedly posed as an MI6 spy to dupe a divorcee out of her £850,000 savings, says The Times.

His alleged victim, Carolyn Woods, 58, told Sky News: “I am delighted that after all this time Mark Acklom is in custody and I look forward to him being brought back to face justice.”

Woods claims that after meeting Acklom at the clothing boutique she owned in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, he “posed first as a Swiss banker and later told her he was a spy working in Syria for MI6, moved in and proposed to her”, The Times reports. During their year-long relationship, Acklom talked her into lending him her life savings, claiming he was using it to renovate properties in Bath. He then disappeared.

Ian Cruxton, head of international operations for the NCA, said: “We utilised our assets [in Switzerland] and worked closely with the Swiss authorities and Avon and Somerset Police to track him down.

“Like many fugitives, Acklom believed he could remain at large by travelling around Europe, but our international reach means there is no safe place to hide.”

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