POLICE said the widespread publicity surrounding a convicted armed robber and paedophile who has gone on the run has given them several fresh leads.
Mark Sleman, who also uses the name Archie Sleman, remains the subject of a large manhunt after he fled his Exeter bail hostel following his release from prison earlier this year. Officers have asked for the public's help to get him back behind bars.
It was revealed last month that Sleman had once been convicted for kidnapping and trying to rape a 10-year-old child. He was released earlier this year on licence as part of a seven-year sentence for robbing a homeless man at knifepoint and attempting to rob a garage shop supervisor in Exeter, again armed with a knife.
As well as Exeter, Sleman is known to have visited Torbay, East Devon and Exmouth.
Reports about Sleman's "support for" or "links" with the far-right group the English Defence League also surfaced this week - with the Exeter division speaking out to publicly distance themselves from him.
A police spokesman said: "It is still very much a valid search. He is still on the run and we are still very keen to get hold of him. We have had a very good response from the public since the appeal went out. That has given us some leads we are looking into but there is nothing firm at this particular moment.
"The hunt does continue so if anyone has any further information we would be very keen to hear about it.
"We appreciate the help that the press has given in getting the appeal so widely circulated. This has given the public all the information they want to know about it.
"No one wants him out on the streets and the information we get from the public will hopefully lead to a quick arrest. If anyone thinks they know someone who has information or knows of his whereabouts they can contact us directly on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously."
Responding in a statement Kieran Hallett, EDL regional organiser, Exeter division leader, said: "The EDL would like to point out that Mark Sleman is not an EDL supporter/member, he liked a couple of the SW Facebook pages and by liking a page this does not make you an active supporter.
"Mark Sleman, to the best of our knowledge, has never travelled to any demos with any of the local divisions and has not attended any of the local meetings. Mark Sleman is not welcome in the EDL now or in the future."
Earlier this year Sleman is reported to have made a series of vile, racist posts on Facebook.
The Probation Service withdrew Sleman's licence as they are no longer able to supervise him. Police believe he is still in the Exeter area and the public has been warned not to approach him but to call 999 immediately if they see him.
Anyone who knows the current whereabouts of Sleman or has seen him recently is asked to contact police on 101 quoting police reference DE/13/8408.