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  1. ITV Report

Suspected paedophile wanted by Cumbria Police arrested in France

Stephen Carruthers Photo: Crimestoppers

A suspected paedophile on the UK's "most wanted" list has been arrested in France after crashing his car.

Stephen Carruthers, who used to live in Ambleside, went on the run after officers allegedly discovered 5,332 obscene images of children on his computer in March 2014.

When interviewed by officers the 43-year-old denied any wrong-doing.

He was released on bail but officers say he failed to return to the police station at an agreed date.

Carruthers is wanted by Cumbria Police on suspicion of 18 offences of making indecent photographs of a child.

He was living in a cottage in Saint-Denis-Catus, south-west France, and was using a false name, according to the National Crime Agency.

He was admitted to Cahors Hospital with minor injuries on Saturday and was kept in for observations.

Subsequent checks by the French authorities on the EU law enforcement database revealed his real identity.

After officers executed a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) at the hospital, Carruthers appeared before the general prosecutor of the appeal court of Agen where he was remanded in custody.

Extradition proceedings are now under way and his next hearing is on Wednesday, the NCA said.

"The majority of our most wanted fugitives are captured as a result of intelligence-led operations, but with Carruthers his days on the run ended thanks to a huge slice of luck.

"Following the car crash the French authorities carried out checks that revealed his real identity and enabled them to execute the EAW. Now after being at large for nearly three years he will be returned to the UK to face justice."

– Matt Burton, head of the NCA's International Crime Bureau