Police on both sides of the world looking for notorious British tourist James Nolan

New Zealand Customs has been forced to front up after they allowed one of the notorious British tourists to flee the country on a false passport. 

Despite police concerns he may have multiple passports James Nolan had been granted bail while facing charges of assault and fraud. 

James Nolan was released on bail in late January. He'd promised to return to court just days later.

But instead within 24 hours, the 26-year-old was on a flight out of the country, let through by customs officials.

"He was considered a low flight risk simply because he was not in possession of his own passport that had been given up as part of his bail conditions," said Terry Brown from Customs New Zealand.

He was using an associate's passport.

According to Mr Brown, it was human error that let them down.

That's because the e-gate did raise the alarm, having registered that Nolan's face didn't match the passport he was using.

But the custom's officer chose to overrule the technology and allow him to leave. 

"We're hurting about this because we pride ourselves in facilitating lawful and legitimate passengers and stopping the people who shouldn't be travelling and we failed in this instance," said Mr Brown.

British born Nolan was visiting New Zealand with his 2 children and pregnant wife.

His family quickly gained notoriety after an incident at Takapuna Beach, where they were accused of littering, and a young boy was filmed telling a woman he would "knock her brains out".

The 26 year olds reckless driving and assault charges date back to this day.

He's facing charges of fraud relating to a series of roofing scams that police believe total more than $100,000

Police say when Nolan failed to reappear in court they contacted customs to ensure border alerts were put in place. Investigations are underway into the passport Nolan travelled on for his getaway and Interpol has been notified.

Customs is currently undertaking a review 

But Kris Faafoi, the Minister in charge wants assurances Nolan's case is a one-off. 

"Well it's not a good look, that's obvious, at this stage we do think its human error because the smart gate system gave an alert - the gentleman, if you can call him that, was obviously using someone else's passport, we can make our own judgements on that."

An embarrassing breakdown in process that's allowed this runaway, to head straight to the runway.



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