Barking fugitive caught after 18 years on run

A FUGITIVE who has been on the run for nearly 20 years has been caught by police – after he tried to get a friend to sit his driving theory test for him.

Orville Bello, 46, absconded from prison during weekend leave in 1992 when he was 28 years old - two years into a six-year sentence for drugs offences.

But the bungling renegade was snared by police after he sent a friend to Ilford Driving Theory Test Centre, in Ilford Hill, last Friday.

Staff at the centre became suspicious of a con and alerted officers, who arrested both the friend - who police have not named - and Bello who was living in a Barking bolthole.

It is not known whether Bello had been using a pseudonym.

He was later transferred to Romford Police Station, in Main Road, Romford, and it was only when police took his fingerprints that they realised he was a wanted man.

“The computer alarms started ringing,” a police spokesman said, “and we realised he was a man on our wanted list.”

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Bello spent the weekend in the Romford custody suite as investigators determined what to do with him.

“He had been on the run for so long that the prison where he was originally serving time is now a women’s prison and the jail he would have been moved to is defunct,” the spokesman said. “So there has been some head-scratching and searching through very old paperwork.”

He was finally moved to HMP Pentonville, north London, on Monday afternoon, where he will serve the remaining four years of his sentence.

He will not be eligible for parole.

Bello was initially imprisoned in Downview Prison, in Barnstead Downs, Surrey.

The fugitive had been living with his wife, police said, but it is unclear whether she was aware of his past.

A police spokesman added: “He may now also face charges in relation to an attempted driving licence fraud.”