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On-the-run sex offender complains about press report

A sex offender who has been on the run from police for more than a year contacted police to complain about a local newspaper report about him.

James Dunham, left, went on the run from Hove Crown Court on 9 January last year after pleading guilty to intentionally causing or inciting a girl aged 14 to engage in sexual activity in Heathfield, East Sussex, in January 2012.

But when Sussex Police issued an appeal on Tuesday in a bid to track him down, information given to the media in good faith wrongly claimed that Dunham, 33, had pleaded guilty to having sex with an under-age girl.

The Argus newspaper in Brighton reported that after reading their report on the police’s appeal this week, the landscape gardener contacted police to complain that he had been accused of the wrong offence.

The police then issued another press release with the correct details about his offence.

Dunham, whose last known address was Albert Parade, Eastbourne, attended the court in Hove and admitted the charge last January.

He was then given bail and told to remain in the court building to discuss the case with his solicitor but has not been seen since.

Dunham is described as white, 5ft 10in and of medium build, with green eyes and short brown hair.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Dunham is not believed to present a physical risk to the general public but anyone who knows where he is is asked to contact us right away.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 or email, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.