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  1. ITV Report

ITV tracks down sex offender On The Run in Portugal

Nigel Burnell, a sex offender from South Wales who went on the run to Portugal. Photo: ITV

More questions are being asked of Portuguese police after an ITV investigation showed they were unable to arrest a wanted British sex offender hiding out in the Algarve.

On The Run, a programme fronted by Mark Williams-Thomas, the man behind the Jimmy Savile Exposure programmes, and Natasha Kaplinsky, discovered Nigel Burnell in a Portuguese bar but police there were initially unable to bring him to justice.

The case asks more questions of a police force whose reputation is already damaged by their investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Burnell, a sex offender from South Wales, breached the terms of his licence in 2010 by fleeing to southern Europe and police issued a European arrest warrant.

His wife Maureen, who was left shocked and devastated by his conviction, told Natasha Kaplinsky her husband had clearly had no intention of returning to the UK.

He knows he’s a man on the run and he clearly has no intention of doing anything about it. Nigel runs - where’s he going to run to? He needs to be brought back and serve his time.

It wasn't indecent images found on Burnell's computer but evidence that would lead to his conviction.

This year he was tracked down to an Algarve karaoke bar by an undercover member of the On The Run team.

When Mr Williams-Thomas told local officers about Burnell's location, they said they were unaware of the arrest warrant against him.

This is a man who has been on the run for a long time, he's out there unable to be caught because of an administrative issue.

The worst case scenario, of course, is that he goes on his toes and he goes missing again.

After giving Portuguese police a further two weeks to arrest Burnell, he was confronted by the ITV team and their cameras.

He was eventually arrested by local police in June this year, some six weeks after ITV first told officers of his whereabouts.

Mr Burnell has since pleaded guilty to failing to notify police of a change of address and failing to notify police of foreign travel and is currently serving a new 15-month sentence.

Neither he nor the Portuguese police wished to comment on the issues raised in the programme.

On The Run is on ITV tonight at 9pm.