Seventy Olympic athletes and coaches who claimed political asylum after the Games last year are still in Britain.
Half have already been granted refugee status by the Home Office and will be allowed to settle.
The rest are still in the country fighting for the right to remain.
Police have admitted they are also looking for several other Olympic visa holders whose right to be in the UK expired seven months ago. They have ‘simply wandered off to make a better life’ in Britain, according to a senior officer.
At the end of the Games, reports suggested around 21 athletes and coaches had disappeared from the Olympic Village and failed to return home to countries including the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Cameroon and Sudan.
But the Daily Mail has learnt the true total is much higher.
Some 70,000 Olympic Games Family Member visas were issued to give coaches, athletes and team officials a limited right to stay in Britain until last November.
A Freedom of Information request to the Home Office about how many stayed on after that was not answered for seven months, despite a legal deadline of 21 days.
Sources said officials had been ‘running around desperately’ to find as many illegal Olympic over-stayers as possible before answering questions.
When the request was finally answered, officials said they believed the ‘great majority’ of the 70,000 had left the country.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Rock told the Newham Recorder: ‘We’re working with the UK Border Agency to find them, but I think we can assume they have simply wandered off to make a better life for themselves in this country.’
They were named as Aissata Toure, 20, a sprinter from Guinea; Drusille Ngako Tchimi, 25, the Cameroon women’s football team reserve goalkeeper; Mandembo Kebika Cedric, 29, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo judo squad; and Yves Olivier Adje, 30, an Ivory Coast wrestling coach.
Two other Guineans and two other Ivorians were also reported missing at the end of the Games.
Among those believed to have claimed asylum are the Congolese judo coach Ibula Masengo, athletics director Guy Nkita and boxing trainer Blaise Bekwa.
The Eritrean athlete Weynay Ghebresilasie, 18, was one of four from his country to claim asylum before the Games finished. He said he was doing so because of ‘harsh conditions’ and ‘lack of basic human rights’ in Eritrea.
Officials have refused to give a full breakdown of the asylum seekers’ nationalities because, they claimed, it risked identifying them, but it is thought the vast majority are African.
Culled from Daily Mail