Police chief bids to have conman put on sex offenders register

Chief Constable Phil Gormley is bidding to get criminal Reece Scobie added to the Sex Offenders Register. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor/ JP License
Chief Constable Phil Gormley is bidding to get criminal Reece Scobie added to the Sex Offenders Register. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor/ JP License
Share this article

SCOTLAND’S top police officer is pursuing a rare civil action against a notorious conman in a bid to have his details added to the United Kingdom’s Sex Offenders Register.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley is seeking to have Catch Me If You Can fraudster Reece Scobie added to the register because he was caught with child pornography while he was abroad.

Scobie, who has used stolen credit card details to travel the world, was jailed in Iceland after being found with child porn images and videos on his latest illicit trip to Seattle in the United States.

Chief Constable Gormley lodged an action at Perth Sheriff Court to argue that the nature of Scobie’s conviction in Iceland means he poses a potential danger to children in Scotland.

READ MORE: Police Scotland is praised for revealing overseas work

The rare Notification hearing was heard in private, but a Scottish Court Service spokesman confirmed that an interim order had been granted in favour of the Chief Constable.

However, Scobie’s solicitor asked the court for time to seek legal aid to fight the case and it was sisted until the end of November.

A Police Scotland spokesman declined to comment directly on the civil case and said it would be inappropriate to comment on the circumstances relating to any individual in an ongoing action.

But the spokesman added: “Protecting the public is a top priority for Police Scotland. In Scotland we have a multi-agency approach under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) which provides a comprehensive response to a complex issue, using professional assessment and management to properly target resources at those who pose a risk to the public.

“Police Scotland works in partnership with a number of agencies through MAPPA to ensure all Registered Sex Offenders are robustly managed within the community. While we can never eliminate risk entirely, we want to reassure communities that all reasonable steps are being taken to protect them.”

Scobie has already been caught defying a strict ban on internet use since his return from Iceland and was ordered to carry out 80 hours community work.

READ MORE: Chris Marshall: Police must address shortage of senior women

The 22-year-old was caught using the internet at his Inchture, Perthshire, home and also having a secret mobile phone which he later disposed of in February this year.

As well as being jailed for 12 months in Iceland last year, he was also ordered to pay the equivalent of 18,000 pounds court costs after he admitted several frauds and having a large haul of child porn.

He was found with 4,750 photographs and 345 videos of child porn and the internet restricting conditions were in place upon his return to Scotland.

Scobie had vowed to stay out of trouble after being freed from prison in Iceland, but was arrested within days of his return.

In 2013, Scobie, who was just 19, was locked up for 16 months after he admitted carrying out a massive con to fund his “fantasy” globetrotting lifestyle.

He was compared to notorious Catch Me If You Can fraudster Frank Abagnale in the wake of a global travel con funded by 70,000 pounds he duped from travel agents.

Scobie, a tech expert described in court as borderline genius, booked flights around the world and rooms in hotels used by A-list stars including Angelina Jolie.

Abagnale Jnr, played by Leonardo di Caprio in the movie, posed as an airline pilot to travel the world while taunting the authorities.

Scobie booked as many as 30 hotel rooms and at least five luxury holidays across the world each costing between 5,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds.

The teenager - who lived with his mother - booked round the world trips taking in Dubai, Auckland, Atlanta, New York and Vancouver.

And when he was already being investigated, Scobie even managed to dupe court staff into handing him back his passport which had been confiscated as a condition of bail.

On his return from Iceland, he said: “I don’t know why I did it. I have a huge interest in planes and travel, but it’s nothing like Catch Me If You Can.

“It was just the thrill of being on the flight. I pretty much just got off a plane and then went on another one.

“When booking them, it was just something I did and then I didn’t even remember I’d done it.

“I never thought of the consequences at the time of people losing their money but it was afterwards I wished I hadn’t done it. I never did it purposefully or to cause harm.

“I want to stop doing it. I’m done with seeing the inside of police stations and prisons. I can’t deal with it anymore.”

Like The Scotsman on Facebook