A FUGITIVE pensioner wanted for alleged child sex offences is still on the run after not being seen for over a year.
Frank Burgon, 67, is believed to be somewhere in Europe after absconding while awaiting trial.
A judge yesterday branded him a fugitive who is the subject of a Europe-wide arrest warrant.
Burgon now faces being tried in his absence early next year if he is not found.
The last time he was seen at court was in November last year when he denied charges of rape, attempted rape and three allegations of indecent assault against a girl.
The trial has been fixed at Teesside Crown Court on several occasions in the last year but Burgon failed to turn up each time.
Yesterday was the fifth court appearance in a row he has missed.
Prosecuting barrister Stephen Duffield said: “This is a matter that goes back to a first appearance in November 2012.
“There have, over the months, been various appearances listed. There was hope he might be arrested. He hasn’t been.
“If he does decide to come back all well and good. If he doesn’t the crown will apply to try the case in his absence.”
Burgon, of Field House Farm, Dalton Piercy, has not kept in contact with his legal team since his last court showing in November last year when he was granted bail.
The trial has been put off every time to give the authorities a chance to track him down.
During a previous hearing, the court heard he has a boat, or access to a boat, somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Judge Tony Briggs said: “The defendant is a fugitive who is subject to a European arrest warrant.
“It seems to me the trial should be fixed for the first available date.”
The trial will be fixed administratively by the crown court in the New Year and is expected to be heard in February at the earliest.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “Enquiries are ongoing to try to trace Frank Burgon and bring him back to the UK.”
A £50,000 surety previously put up to guarantee Burgon’s attendance is at risk of being forfeit if he cannot be brought to court.