THE former head of a company which collapsed and put 150 people out of work has been arrested by police in Australia.

Charles Forsyth, formerly of Oulston, near Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, was detained by police in Boyup Brook, near Perth, over an alleged multi-million pound fraud.

The father-of-three was the head of Boroughbridge-based Personal Computer Science Limited, which went into receivership in July 1999 when more than 150 people lost their jobs.

He was arrested by Australian police at the weekend following a request from the Serious Fraud Office and his extradition is now being sought.

A warrant for his arrest and extradition was issued by York Magistrates Court on October 17.

The warrant accuses Forsyth of company fraud, pirated computer offences, deception involving a $1.5m credit facility and a £750,000 overdraft, false accounting and lying about his banking qualifications.

In Boyup Brook, Forsyth had been staying with his parents. His father, Alistair, issued the local newspaper, the West Australian, with a statement asking for sympathy and understanding from friends and acquaintances.

He said that following business problems three years ago and the break-up of his marriage, Forsyth has asked to stay with his parents.

He had been estranged from them for 17 years.

The West Australian also reported that, following his arrest, Forsyth complained of chest pains and spent a night under police guard in Bunbury Regional Health Campus intensive care unit. He was reportedly suffering from high blood pressure.

The newspaper said he appeared briefly before Bunbury Magistrates' Court and was remanded in custody to Perth Magistrates' Court.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Charles Forsyth was arrested on November 3 in Western Australia at the request of the Serious Fraud Squad.

"The investigation is being conducted with the co-operation of North Yorkshire Police.

"The Serious Fraud Office will be seeking his extradition to the UK."