NEARLY 100 suspected serious criminals are wanted by Cambridgeshire Police after going on the run.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 97 suspected grade A offenders - the most serious category - are at large after jumping bail. It compares to 14 wanted by Norfolk Police and 48 wanted in Suffolk.

Grade A offenders are wanted in connection with sexual attacks, causing grevious bodily harm, possessing a weapon, drugs and violent disorder.

In total there are 321 wanted criminals currently on record in Cambridgeshire with the oldest outstanding warrant dating back to 1999. In Norfolk officers are searching for 168 suspects and Suffolk police has 274 suspects on its books.

The force refused to release information on the name, dates of birth and last known address of the Category A offenders because it would involve releasing personal data.

Last year police and prosecutors introduced new guidelines to ensure courts are increasingly asked to remove passports from suspects accused of serious offences.

The move came after sex offender Christopher Brown, 59, who had various addresses in King's Lynn, Stoke Ferry and Methwold went on the run mid-trial. In his absence he was found guilty of a string of sex attacks on young girls.

Brown had been released on unconditional bail as he had no history of refusing to co-operate with the courts but he fled the country unchallenged in a furniture van and spent his time on the run in Eastern Europe. He was arrested when he returned to the country via the Channel Tunnel.

Cambridgeshire police are achieving a Ministry of Justice target of keeping warrants below 399. Norfolk and Suffolk police are also exceeding their targets.