North Yorkshire Police arrest international construction project fraudster in Helmsley

Holiday park owner Joseph Burnside, from Hurworth Moor near Darlington, was the subject of a European Arrest Warrant after he was convicted by a French court.
Holiday park owner Joseph Burnside, from Hurworth Moor near Darlington, was the subject of a European Arrest Warrant after he was convicted by a French court.

A international fraudster who was wanted for failed construction projects in France has been tracked down and caught by North Yorkshire Police in Helmsley.

Holiday park owner Joseph Burnside, from Hurworth Moor near Darlington, was the subject of a European Arrest Warrant after he was convicted by a French court.

He 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.

However, 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 with fraud and criminal conspiracy by the French authorities but he failed to appear at court in Rennes. So he was convicted in his absence and a warrant was issued for his arrest in June of this year.

Following specialist intelligence and investigative work, North Yorkshire Police tracked down Burnside in the Ryedale area. Specialist patrol officers stopped his vehicle in Helmsley marketplace on Tuesday and he was arrested and taken into custody in North Yorkshire.

He was yesterday remanded by City of Westminster Magistrates’ Extradition Court. He will attend a full extradition hearing on 19 February 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.”