Wife and daughters may hold key to capture of man wanted over £850k romance scam

Police hunting one of Britain's most wanted fugitives have released details of his wife and two daughters in the hope they could provide the key to his capture.

Mark Acklom, 44, who is alleged to have fleeced a divorcee out of £850,000 in life savings in a romance scam, was last spotted in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 10.

Avon and Somerset Police believe he is with his wife, Maria Yolanda Ros Rodriguez, 47, and their two daughters, aged six and eight.

The force has released a photograph of Acklom's wife, who is also known to use aliases including Yolianda Ross, Maria Long and Mary Moss, and said she may be working as a yoga teacher or attending yoga classes.

Both Acklom and his wife have previously set up property businesses and police believe their daughters may be attending a fee-paying school.

Detective Inspector Adam Bunting said: "Mark Acklom is a convincing fraudster and we're working hard to locate him as soon as possible.

"We believe he'll be with his wife, Maria Rodriguez, and their two young daughters, who we know, up until last year's appeal, were enrolled in El Limonar International School in the Murcia area of Spain.

"In the days following the appeal he removed his children from the school and, together with his wife, he disappeared.

"We have significant concerns about the children's well-being given they were uprooted, with no notice, from their school, friends and family. It's highly likely Acklom will have placed his children in another fee-paying school."

Police are appealing to British expats with children in private international schools, who may have noticed the recent arrival of a family from Spain.

Last year a European Arrest Warrant was issued for Acklom and he was believed to be at large in Spain, having been released from a Spanish prison over a £200,000 property fraud.

He is said to have left Carolyn Woods financially and emotionally devastated after promising to marry her.

She alleged that he posed as an MI6 agent and conned her into "lending" him her savings during a year-long romance in Bath, Somerset.

They met when the former public schoolboy walked into her boutique in Gloucestershire to buy a jacket and began chatting her up.

Mr Bunting said: "Mark Acklom has links through property to Spain and there's been a positive sighting in Switzerland. We also have information linking him to Dublin and Italy, but he could be anywhere in Europe. It's possible he may have travelled outside the EU.

"He's described as 5ft 10in, of medium build, with dark brown hair and green eyes.

"We're grateful for the ongoing support of the National Crime Agency and our law enforcement colleagues in Europe but we need the help of the media and the public in the UK and Europe to track him down."

In 1991, Acklom, then aged 16, received a four-year custodial sentence for a £466,000 mortgage fraud after he posed as a City stockbroker.

He also spent £11,000 after stealing his father's credit card, swindled a former teacher out of £13,000 and ran up a £34,000 bill with a private charter jet company.

Acklom convinced Leeds Permanent Building Society at the age of 16 that he was a 25-year-old stockbroker on £214,000 a year. They gave him a £466,000 mortgage for a £516,000 executive home in Dulwich, south London.

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