Thieving French au pair on the run

French nanny Emeline Essertel A French nanny who skipped bail after pleading guilty to fraud, taking a debit card and possessing CS gas while living with a family in South Wales has been partying her way around Europe, it has emerged.

Emeline Essertel, 24, went on the run earlier this year after being released on bail by Cardiff Magistrates' Court on January 31.

The au pair, who is now thought to be in Clermont-Ferrand, southern France according to the Daily Mail, was arrested in January while working with a family in Llantwit Major, near Cardiff.

But despite her court case and further accusations of theft against her, Essertel has been posting pictures of herself having fun on Facebook, and telling friends that she has been partying in Dublin and Amsterdam.

Worse still, she is still offering her services as a nanny to unsuspecting families who could easily be fooled by her description of herself as a "lovely girl" who would like to work in humanitarian aid.

According to the Daily Telegraph, one advert on a website that she last visited about a month after missing her Cardiff hearing in March, stated: "It will be eight months since I returned to France to complete my nursing degree and I would [like to] go back to see other countries to learn new cultures and be able to speak English [as soon as] possible."

South Wales Police have launched an investigation to find Essertel, who also says she would be happy looking after newborn babies and children up to the age of 16.

"We are pursuing all lines of enquiry in South Wales, London and France in order to trace her," a spokesman said.

However, the tale is bound to strike fear into the hearts of parents considering taking on an au pair or nanny to help with their children.

To avoid being taken in by tricksters such as Essertel, the website advises parents to check that prospective nannies have a valid enhanced CRB/DSB check as well as accredited qualifications in childcare and a current paediatric first aid qualification.

At interview, it also recommends asking why the candidate prefers working as a nanny to working in a nursery, for example, how they deal with bad behaviour and what they see as the greatest risks to children of the relevant age, both inside and outside the home.

Finally, before hiring a nanny or au pair, it advises carrying out a thorough background check.