A EUROPE-WIDE manhunt for a Hartlepool pensioner due to stand trial on child sex offences is continuing.
Frank Burgon, 76, is said to have fled the country and was last believed to be somewhere in the Mediterranean.
He is wanted in this country to stand trial for numerous serious sex attacks.
A European-wide warrant has been issued for his arrest after he failed to turn up for appearances at Teesside Crown Court.
He is facing charges of rape, attempted rape and three counts of indecent assault against a child.
He denied the charges when he last appeared at court in November of last year.
But since then he missed three court appearances, the last in July for an administrative hearing.
A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: “Frank Burgon is still missing and we are continuing to conduct inquiries to locate him.”
Burgon, of Field House Farm, Dalton Piercy, was due to stand trial at Teesside Crown Court in March but he did not show up and the case was adjourned.
A new date was set for May, but he failed to attend again and the case was relisted for July.
When he did not attend on that occasion, the prosecutor Christopher Knox said: “The defendant was a fisherman.
“He has, I understand, absconded. He is believed to have absconded comprehensively in that he is outside the jurisdiction (of this country) and there is no obvious indication he can be returned.
“My understanding is he has a boat, or some boat is available to him, in the Mediterranean somewhere.
“He has certainly not kept in touch and these matters have now been going on for some time.
“Bearing in mind he was released on bail in November last year and has conspicuously failed to keep in contact since then, it’s quite clear he was aware of the date of the trial on March 5.”
Burgon now faces being tried in his absence if he does not attend on the next occasion.
His partner also faces losing money which she put up to guarantee he would answer his bail.
A trial is unlikely to go ahead before November.
Anyone with information about Burgon’s whereabouts can contact Cleveland Police on the non emergency number 101.