A PENSIONER accused of child sex crimes who was on the run for more than a year appeared in court today (Tuesday, January 14).

Frank Burgon was brought back to the UK from Spain after a European arrest warrant was executed.

The 76-year-old, from Hartlepool, was remanded in custody after making a brief appearance at Teesside Crown Court.

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He first appeared in November 2012 where the former fisherman denied a string of historic child sex offences.

Since then, he failed to show for a trial in March last year, and had not been in touch with his legal defence team.

At a hearing last summer, prosecutors said they believed he had access to a boat and could be somewhere in the Mediterranean.

It has since emerged the pensioner used his brother's passport without his knowledge to travel across Europe.

He was arrested in the Canary Islands earlier this month, and taken to Madrid on Monday before being flown back.

At a hearing in 2012, Mr Burgon pleaded not guilty to allegations of rape and attempted rape, and three charges of indecent assault.

Mr Burgon, of Field House Farm, Dalton Piercy, was given bail, but failed to turn up for his planned trial.

Since his escape, it is thought he had been travelling through several countries posing as his older brother Stanley.

He was discovered in an apartment in Peurto Rico on Gran Canaria after a British neighbour of Burgon's alerted cops in the UK.

He appeared before Judge Michael Taylor looking sun-tanned.

The judge told him his trial - expected to last four days - is likely to start at the beginning of May.

Prosecutor Tim Gittins said: "He failed to surrender to custody to face allegations in relation to rape and indecent assaults of a historic nature.

"It was known that he had absconded to Europe and it appears he used his brother's passport without his brother's knowledge."