Shocking revelation as hunt for suspect in case of missing Alice Gross becomes biggest since 7/7. Scores of foreign killers and rapists living in Britain are being monitored only by email.
They merely have to write to probation officers in their homeland every fortnight saying where they are living.
The revelation comes as the hunt for Arnis Zalkalns – the Latvian murderer wanted over missing Alice Gross – became the biggest since the 7/7 terror attacks.
The 41-year-old has been allowed to enter and leave Britain repeatedly since he arrived here in 2005 – a freedom that has raised serious questions about the supervision of EU criminals.
Between 30 and 50 convicted Latvians living in the UK are being supervised by probation officers from the Baltic state.
Harry Fletcher, a former official with the probation union Napo, said it was common in Eastern Europe for no travel restrictions to be imposed when offenders leave jail.
In Latvia, the authorities do not even have a postal address for ex-offenders.
Yet British murderers are subject to stringent supervision for the rest of their lives, having to report to probation teams and seek permission to travel abroad.
Mr Fletcher, who is a director of the Digital Trust, a charity that campaigns against online abuse, said: ‘It appears that there are scores of people coming in from European countries, including Latvia, who have been convicted of a range of offences from theft to murder who the British authorities are not aware of.
‘They are able to come here as long as they check in through email. But the system is open to abuse as an email account can be falsified. This is a legal loophole that needs closing.’
Jean Taylor, founder of campaign group Families for Justice, said: ‘For these serious criminals to be let into Britain without anyone knowing of their past, then to learn that there is no proper monitoring, even in their own countries, is a farce and an insult to their victims.’
Scotland Yard learnt of Zalkalns’ murder conviction last week only after making urgent inquiries through Interpol when he became a suspect in 14-year-old Alice’s disappearance. Officers believe he may have fled back to Latvia.
Searches have intensified since police discovered that their prime suspect, who calls himself ‘Wolf’ on social media, had served six and half years in jail in his native Latvia for the murder of his wife in 1997.
Zalkalns went missing from his home in Ealing, west London, on September 3. Convicted: Arnis Zalkalns served six and half years in jail in Latvia for the murder of his wife in 1997
Alice was last seen on August 28 walking along the Grand Union Canal, also in west London, followed by Zalkalns on a bicycle 15 minutes later.
The mountain bike has been found at an address Zalkalns used about a mile and a half from the last sighting of Alice.
Six hundred officers from eight forces are scouring ten square miles of land and three miles of canals and rivers.
Police frogmen and sniffer dogs were last night exploring the waters and towpaths near Ealing Hospital and Brent Lodge Park. Alice is from nearby Hanwell.
Detective Superintendent Carl Mehta, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘Our thoughts continue to go out to Alice’s family as our search continues in a bid to find her. We will not stop our hunt for Alice.’
Last night a Latvian police source said: ‘We have been asked by the British police to start searching for Arnis Zalkalns in Latvia.
'There is a possibility he might have fled here so we are doing everything we can to help.’
Zalkalns has not accessed his bank account or used his mobile phone since he went missing.
His passport was left at his house which he occupied with his girlfriend and their young daughter. He left in the dead of night.