Hunt ends for `most wanted' pensioners

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Two elderly sisters, dubbed Britain's most wanted pensioners after they went on the run nearly three years ago, were finally caught by police yesterday. Winifred Bristow, 76, and Joan Payne, 74, have been the subject of a bizarre hunt since they disappeared from their home in East Grinstead, Sussex, in May 1992. They were traced to a rented cottage near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. But there was no sign of Angela Dodge, their nephew's girlfriend, believed to be the mastermind behind a string of deceptions they left in their wake.

The pensioners were caught after a tip-off from a local who saw press appeals for their capture last week. The pair disappeared after telling relatives they were taking a short holiday. They set off on a tour of Britain and Ireland, allegedly leaving behind forged cheques, bogus bank accounts and bills amounting to thousands of pounds.

Detective Constable Barry Woodley of New Milton police in Hampshire, in charge of the three-year hunt, said the sisters had been "dumped" by Mrs Dodge as she gave police the slip again. "She has ditched them and gone off with her daughter Kate. She will probably go to ground and without the old ladies in tow, she will be very difficult to find," he said.

"The old ladies aren't being particularly co-operative but they said she got a bus to Cambridge last Thursday. "Mrs Dodge is the fly in the ointment and it's her we want to catch."