Police have apologised to a child abuse victim who made an emotional appeal to track down a paedophile who was already in jail.

The victim of Anthony Curran agreed to make the appeal in a bid to help police trace his tormentor who had skipped bail and disappeared.

But after he made a statement through the media on Wednesday, it emerged Curran, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, was already in custody in North Yorkshire after being arrested on Tuesday. Police have blamed a breakdown in communications.

Curran, 55, was convicted in April this year of abusing three boys but was bailed and did not turn up for sentencing in June.

He abused the boys between 1999 and 2003 at his home and on day trips to Cheshire, Wales and the Lake District.

On Wednesday, one of his victims, now aged 20, from Manchester, said in the police appeal: “He needs to hand himself in because now his name is out and he’s been found guilty, people know about it.

“As soon as he is sentenced I will be able to put it out of my mind, but until then I can’t move on with my life. I can’t put it behind me until he is in prison serving his sentence.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Potts, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We are extremely unhappy that this has happened and we are looking into what went wrong.

“It appears at this stage that this error has been the result of a breakdown in communication between the people who arrested Curran and the officers who instigated the appeal. We have apologised to the victim and his family for any unnecessary distress this caused.”

Curran is now due to be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on August 27.