UK’s most wanted conman Mark Acklom arrested in Switzerland

The 45-year-old, who had been on the run since 2012, tried to jump from a balcony before being wrestled to the ground.
Acklom was with his family when he was arrested

By Martin Brunt, crime correspondent
Britain’s most wanted fraud suspect Mark Acklom has been arrested in a dramatic raid on his hideout, two years after he went on the run in Europe.
Acklom, 45, was held by police at an apartment he was sharing with his wife and their two young children in Switzerland.
He is wanted in the UK for allegedly fleecing a woman of her £850,000 life savings after posing as a wealthy banker and MI6 agent and promising to marry her.
It’s understood that as officers entered his rented home, conman Acklom tried to jump from a balcony before being wrestled to the ground.
He was held at an apartment in the lakeside town of Wadenswil, a 20-minute drive south from Zurich, after a police surveillance operation lasting several days.
He was arrested by Swiss police in an investigation involving the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and Avon and Somerset Police.
A police mugshot taken after his arrest on Saturday night shows Acklom, normally well-groomed, with long hair and a beard.

He had been on the run since 2014

His alleged victim Carolyn Woods, 58, said at her Cotswolds home: “I am delighted that after all this time Mark Acklom is in custody and I look forward to him being brought back to face justice.”
Ms Woods claimed Acklom left her broke and suicidal in 2013, a year after he walked into her boutique in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, and charmed her into a romance.
Last summer, long after his name was added to the UK’s Most Wanted list, Sky News broadcast a photograph of Acklom sitting with another man at a pavement cafe in Geneva, 270km (170m) from Zurich.
He was snapped by someone who claimed to have been a victim of his.
Police kept watch on the tiny, back-street cafe, a five-minute walk from Lake Geneva, but Acklom did not show up again.
Up until then, British detectives believed Acklom was hiding in Spain, where he had spent many years and learned to speak the language fluently. His wife Maria is Spanish.

Acklom changed his name to Marc Long by deed poll.

In January we revealed that Acklom still had a current passport and Swiss residency permit in the name of Marc Long, one of several aliases he has used.The legitimate documents were obtained in 2014, shortly after Acklom fled Britain and after he had changed his name by deed poll.
Recently, the hunt for Acklom has focused on the Zurich area from where it’s believed he has been setting up various companies in a bid to attract investors.
One business claimed to be manufacturing computer chips for black-box data recorders for cars. The company’s website suggested it had customers from the luxury car industry.
At one point undercover police mounted a surveillance operation on a bank after a tip-off that Acklom was planning to meet staff and business associates there, but he did not appear.
Avon and Somerset Police appealed to Sky News viewers across Europe last year to help in identifying Acklom’s wife and two young daughters with whom he was thought to be travelling.
For two years Acklom has been the subject of a European arrest warrant, which originally detailed allegations from his connection with Ms Woods, but a new warrant was issued this year with more allegations.
Detectives have been investigating his life and activities around the Bath and Bristol areas in 2012 and 2013.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Adam Bunting, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “The arrest of Mark Acklom is the direct result of the co-ordinated efforts of our officers, the NCA and the Swiss authorities and we’re grateful for the professionalism and expertise of all those involved in this international search.
“Acklom thought he could continue to evade capture by moving around Europe but we were determined to locate him and bring him back to this country.
“We’ve updated the victim of the fraud offences on the latest developments and will continue to work with the relevant authorities to ensure he is extradited as soon as possible.”
Ian Cruxton, head of international operations for the NCA, said: “The hunt for conman Mark Acklom started in Spain but as soon as intelligence indicated he had moved to Switzerland, we utilised our assets there and worked closely with the Swiss authorities and Avon & Somerset Police to track him down.
“We are committed to protecting UK citizens from criminals who seek to exploit them and, likewise, we are equally committed to protecting citizens in other countries.”
The European arrest warrant is not recognised in non-EU Switzerland and so Acklom will be dealt with under an existing extradition treaty.
He is expected to appear in court sometime this week and indicate if he is to fight a return to the UK.

“Credit Sky News”

News Reporter

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