The National Police and Civil Guard are giving a final push to the Operation Captura campaign in order to find the last 10 British fugitives wanted in Spain.
In the seven years since it began in 2006, 53 of the 65 criminals wanted as part of the campaign have been arrested, while two others have been removed from the list. Among the group are some of Britain’s “most dangerous” individuals, according to Crimestoppers.
On Wednesday the UK crime-fighting charity published a list of the last 10 remaining fugitives and circulated it across the whole of Spain, particularly in the areas with the largest British populations, such as Málaga and Alicante, where authorities believe they could be hiding out enjoying sun-and-sand lifestyles.
Most of those arrested previously are now serving prison sentences for their crimes, which range from drug trafficking to sex offenses and murder.
The most recent individual on the list to be detained was Darren Kevin O’Flaherty, who was detained in North Wales on August 6 while celebrating his birthday in a Chinese restaurant. The 39-year-old was wanted for kidnap and robbery offenses for his involvement in a truck driver being held at knifepoint while his truck was driven from North Yorkshire to Liverpool and its 475,000-euro cargo unloaded. The driver was eventually released and the vehicle set alight.
O’Flaherty was also wanted for the 2010 murder in Spain of Dublin tourist John O’Neill.
Among those on the list who remain at large are Christopher Guest More, accused of having murdered a farmer who refused to hand over his money when his house was robbed in Cheshire, the UK, in 2003, according to his Interpol file.
Another is Allan James Foster – also known as Shaun Michael Wilkinson -- 39, accused of murdering David “Noddy” Rice in a parking lot in 2006, as well as for diamond and drugs robberies. The police believe he has ties to the Canary and Balearic Islands.
A third fugitive, Fataj Benlaredj, is accused of having raped a seven-year-old. British police know only that he is between 30 and 35 years old, responds to the name of Samir and is hiding out in Spanish territory.
Roger Critchell, director of operations at Crimestoppers, said that with the arrest of O’Flaherty, “we are down to the final 10 remaining fugitives left on the run from our Operation Captura campaign. The success of these appeals means that they won’t be out there for long.
“The recent arrests we have seen have proven again that the cooperation between UK and Spanish law enforcement, SOCA [Serious Organised Crime Agency] and the public is essential in this fight against crime. It is thanks to them that we only have 10 criminals left on this list.”
For this reason, Crimestoppers is requesting the help of the public, asking it to visit the most-wanted section on its website and forward any information it considers relevant about the individuals on the list by calling 900 555 111.