Bulgaria rules conman must return to UK

A BULGARIAN court has ruled a convicted Suffolk fraudster, who has been on the run for nearly three years, should be extradited back to Britain.

A BULGARIAN court has ruled a convicted Suffolk fraudster, who has been on the run for nearly three years, should be extradited back to Britain.

Barry Spearing's extradition case was heard in the Black Sea port of Varna, before the city's regional court.

It ruled the bankrupt 48-year-old, who was convicted of a �1.9million antique fraud in his absence at Ipswich Crown Court in 2006, should be returned to the UK to face justice.

Although not ruling on his guilt, the court said there was no reason why the European arrest warrant issued against the former owner of Wrentham Antiques, near Southwold, should not be executed.


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Spearing now has until Monday to appeal the ruling. To do this he would have to bring his case before Varna Appellative Court.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency wants his extradition on the warrant issued by the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in August 2007. The warrant relates to counterfeiting and forgery.

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Spearing's spell on the run is said to have come to an end when he was found by Varna police officers at his hideaway in the village of Botevo, where he is reported to have been living with his girlfriend for the past two years.

The rogue dealer was found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court in January 2006 of participating in an antiques fraud between August and November 2002. He was ordered to pay �1,873, 870 or face seven years' imprisonment.

Spearing, formerly of Green Drive, Lowestoft, was convicted of 10 charges of defrauding several creditors relating to his bankruptcy in November 2002.

At the time of Spearing's arrest in 2005, it was claimed his problems had escalated over the years. The family antiques business, which once brought in more than �1m a year and exported across the world, hit trouble about a year before Spearing went bankrupt.

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