Unruly escape: Customs mistake sees tourist James Nolan bolt from New Zealand

Notorious rowdy tourist James Nolan has evaded capture by police and skipped New Zealand after a Customs blunder at Auckland International Airport.

Mr Nolan, best known as one of the British tourists who caused havoc across the North Island in January, is charged with a raft of crimes, including assault using a car, reckless driving, and fraud relating to roofing scams.  

The rowdy tourist has failed to appear in court on several occasions and it has been revealed he escaped New Zealand by getting around border controls.

Customs group manager of border operations Terry Brown told Newshub that Customs has "robust procedures and systems" to protect our borders, but Mr Nolan had "deliberately circumvented border controls by using a valid passport that was not his own".

"He used an eGate, which uses biometric data to match and confirm the identity of a passenger," said Mr Brown.

"The eGate identified further checks were needed on the passport. The image was automatically sent to a Customs officer, who incorrectly identified Nolan as the passport owner.

"Unfortunately that was a case of human error which shouldn't have occurred."

Mr Brown said Customs was taking the breach seriously and officers have been reminded of the importance of visual checks to validate the identity of travellers.

A review into the processes that led to Mr Nolan's escape is underway.

Two other men believed to be affiliated with the tourists were arrested in Lower Hutt last week in relation to roofing scams.

Police say they are making enquiries with partner agencies.


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