International fraudster arrested in Helmsley and faces extradition to France

An international fraudster has been arrested following his conviction over a series of failed construction projects in France.

North Yorkshire Police tracked down Joseph Burnside in Helmsley and took him into custody. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

North Yorkshire Police has tracked down and caught holiday park owner Joseph Burnside, from Hurworth Moor near Darlington who had been the subject of a European arrest warrant after he was found guilty of fraud and criminal conspiracy in his absence by a French court.

Burnside worked on more than 200 construction projects in France using a range of company names which showed a combined an income of roughly 900,000 euros in one year, police said.

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The courts deemed the work substandard and said he failed to deliver on some of the projects, which dated from 2005 and 2006.

The 32-year-old was charged by French authorities but he failed to appear at court in Rennes and was convicted in his absence.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in June this year.

North Yorkshire Police said that they tracked down Burnside in the Ryedale area when specialist patrol officers stopped his vehicle in Helmsley marketplace on Tuesday.

He was arrested and taken into custody in North Yorkshire and yesterday he has remanded by City of Westminster Magistrates’ Extradition Court. He will attend a full extradition hearing on February 19, 2019.

Paul Somerville, from North Yorkshire Police’s Force Intelligence Bureau, said: “Some criminals think that because we’re a rural county, they can move around undetected and with impunity.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. We use a range of specialised operational and intelligence-based techniques to find wanted people, and we have a strong track record of catching offenders wanted in connection with overseas crimes.

“We worked closely with French Gendarmerie and other international authorities to locate Burnside and arrest him. It’s reassuring that he will now face the justice he’s tried so hard to evade and his victims in France will get some satisfaction with his forthcoming imprisonment on extradition.”