A FORMER insurance broker who fled South Africa amid allegations of a £1.5 million fraud has been working as a supply teacher in Falmouth and Penryn.
Mike Hale has been hunted by South African police since he left the country in July 2009. In the same year, he registered with Concorde Supply Teaching Agency, part of Cornwall College.
He last taught pupils at Falmouth School 18 months ago and was photographed by a student at Penryn College this month teaching there.
He also taught at Camborne Science and International Academy.
Mr Hale reportedly left South Africa after at least 20 million rand – £1.55 million – went missing from the accounts of his company MJCM Insurance Brokers in Pietermaritzburg.
Last week, former Falmouth School student Daniel Templeton highlighted the local link after reading stories online.
He was taught PE by Mr Hale 18 months ago and said: "I thought, 'Oh my god, that's really him'.
"I just find it ridiculous that somebody can become a teacher after that. Surely he must have gone through the system?"
A secondary school pupil in the Falmouth and Penryn area posted an article on Facebook, which included a picture of Mr Hale, writing: "I swear he was at our school."
The post received almost 100 comments. One said: "He taught me on Friday."
At the same time, a concerned parent of a student at a Cornish school e-mailed The Witness newspaper in Pietermaritzburg telling of Mr Hale's whereabouts.
Last week, Penryn College and Falmouth Academy informed the police about the allegations.
It is understood moves are being made to extradite Mr Hale to South Africa.
A statement from Cornwall College said: "He (Mike Hale) registered in September 2009, having completed all necessary statutory checks as a qualified teacher, including professional references.
"In line with the current Disclosure and Barring Service guidance and our normal operating policy, all checks were updated November 2012 – all were clear.
"We have no information relating to alleged activities in South Africa. Mr Hale is no longer working with us."
A statement from Penryn College said: "As soon as Penryn College and Falmouth School were alerted of the allegations, both immediately informed the police and the supply agency of the allegations made about him."
Mr Hale is a former captain of the GB water polo team, reported to be from the Midlands, who worked in Pietermaritzburg for 30 years.
Attempts to contact Mr Hale have failed.