A MAN accused of fraud and perverting the course of justice in relation to the theft of £20,000 from a village church has been told to hand himself in to police.

A bench warrant was issued for Peter Taylor, 58, in October after he failed to attend a hearing at Durham Crown Court.

Mr Taylor has been spoken to directly by police and his legal counsel and has so far refused to surrender to custody.

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Detective Sergeant Jason Corbett, said: “I am certain Mr Taylor is currently residing with friends and associates in the Northumbria area and would encourage him to hand himself in to the nearest police station, or alternatively contact me directly at Consett CID via 101.

“It is vitally important that those people with Mr Taylor are aware that harbouring a fugitive is a criminal offence. We would like to ask anyone who has information regarding his current location to contact us as soon as possible.”

Call Durham Police on 101 with information.