A FRAUDSTER who fled to the United States has been extradited to serve a prison sentence in England.

Christopher Baines, 48, left Colchester to set up made-to-order furniture store, Mister Woodz, in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Police were contacted by numerous customers three years ago after Baines took their money for items which were never delivered.

Baines was arrested and charged with 54 counts of fraud and was bailed, but failed to attend court to be sentenced. He fled to Canada and then went on to the USA.

The Gazette ran an appeal for information last year because police thought he might have returned to Colchester.

He was finally tracked down in San Antonio, Texas.

Authorities in Britain began the extradition process and last week he was finally brought back to serve his sentence after being met by Wiltshire Police at Heathrow Airport.

Clive Read, who has been leading the campaign to get justice for the UK victims, said: “This fantastic result is the outcome of a very detailed and lengthy process involving partners both in the UK and the USA.

“I would like to thank everyone and every agency involved in this process.

“I hope this case illustrates that no matter how fast or far you run, you cannot avoid justice forever.”