Rogues' gallery: photos turn focus on 13 of UK's most wanted criminals thought to be hiding in Spain
New list released as part Operation Captura, which has previously rounded up 53 out of 63 named suspects
Police have named 13 of the UK’s most wanted criminals, all thought to be on the run in Spain.
Pictures and details of the suspected drug smugglers, would-be murderers and child sex offenders have been released this morning by a joint taskforce in Madrid.
Officers have appealed to the public as part of Operation Captura, a scheme to trace criminals who are thought to have fled to Spain. They said they wanted to “harness the eyes and ears of the public” in order to find the 13, all men and aged between 26 and 78.
The effort to track the most wanted suspects is being spearheaded by the UK’s new National Crime Agency, which replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency at the start of last month.
It is working with input from Spanish police and Crimestoppers, and said it wanted to send out the message that “Spain is not a safe haven”.
The list released today includes paedophile Michael McCartney, 78, from Letchworth, Hertfordshire, who was convicted of abusing three boys, grooming them by buying them expensive gifts before committing sex crimes.
He was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child and inciting sexual activity involving penetration in March 2013, and failed to attend court the following month for sentencing.
Another of the 13 is Robert Mortby, 26, from London, who is suspected of attempted murder over an attack on a man outside a pub in Elephant and Castle, south London.
The victim was drinking at the Rose and Crown in July last year when he was hit over the head with a bottle and shot three times. Mortby is suspected of being one of his two attackers.
Brian Thexton, 37, from Durham, also features on the list. He is accused of being involved in robberies where a gang would tie up homeowners and force them to give up alarm codes and safe combinations.
In one the gang impersonated police officers to dupe the victims into opening the door, before brandishing a pick axe handle and a baseball bat.
From left: Michael McCartney; Lee Willis; Ian Stanton; Brian Thexton He is also awaiting trial for conspiracy to supply cocaine, over claims that he was the middleman in the sale of half a kilo of the drug, and had admitted conspiring to steal cars and machinery.
It is the eighth appeal of its kind since Operation Captura was launched in 2006, and so far 53 out of 63 named suspects have been caught.
Founder of Crimestoppers Lord Ashcroft said: “Despite our success so far, there are still a number of dangerous criminals who see Spain as a safe haven to hide from their past, but with the support of the Spanish and UK public, we can hunt them out and bring them to justice.”
Hank Cole, from the NCA, said: “Spain is not a safe haven. Fifty three fugitives have been caught since Captura was launched, and many more linked to other operations.
“The most important thing though is the power of this campaign to harness the eyes and ears of the public, both here and in Spain.”
From left: Robert Knight; Christopher Mealey; David Hewson; Robert Mortby THE FULL LIST
* Daniel Bowes, 43, from London, who was allegedly a senior figure in a cocaine smuggling ring, acting as a go-between for the head of the gang with contacts and delivery drivers. He is wanted on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine between March 2011 and January 2012.
* Stephen Blundell, 35, from Liverpool, is a convicted heroin dealer who ran a supply chain from his home city to Devon. He was convicted of conspiracy to supply the class A drug but went on the run when he was bailed pending sentencing.
* Daniel Dugic, a 32-year-old Serb, is also accused of trying to smuggle cocaine into the UK. He is wanted for allegedly plotting a deal where a boat would meet a container ship in the English Channel to collect 255kg of the drug.
* David Hewson, 31, from Liverpool, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine but then went on the run last year. He was jailed for 11 years in his absence in December for being a key player in a drug dealing gang that operated in Liverpool.
* Robert Knight, 52, from Walsall, allegedly helped to arrange for 6kg of cocaine to be smuggled to London Heathrow Airport on a consignment from the Dominican Republic in 2008. Five others have been arrested and charged, and it is alleged Knight had telephone contact with them.
* David Mather, 57, from Manchester, was convicted of conspiracy to import heroin after a lorry was stopped at Humber sea terminal in May 2010 and found to have 32 packets of the drug stuffed in the bumper. He fled and was sentenced to 18 years in his absence in January.
* Michael McCartney, 78, from Letchworth, was convicted of abusing three boys, grooming them by buying them expensive gifts before committing sex crimes. He was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child and inciting sexual activity involving penetration in March 2013, and failed to attend court the following month for sentencing.
* Christopher Mealey, 37, from London, is accused of being a member of the same cocaine smuggling ring as Daniel Bowes. The gang was allegedly involved in smuggling the drug from the Netherlands to the UK.
* Robert Mortby, 26, from London, is suspected of attempted murder over an attack on a man outside a pub in Elephant and Castle, south London. The victim was drinking at the Rose and Crown in July last year when he was hit over the head with a bottle and shot three times. Mortby is suspected of being one of his two attackers.
* Ian Stanton, 42, from Liverpool, is suspected of being a member of a drugs gang that tried to smuggle more than 400kg of cocaine into the UK hidden in a shipment of Argentinian beef. The drugs were discovered at Tilbury docks in Essex in May.
* Brian Thexton , 37, from Durham, is accused of being involved in robberies where a gang would tie up homeowners and force them to give up alarm codes and safe combinations. In one the gang impersonated police officers to dupe the victims into opening the door, before brandishing a pick axe handle and a baseball bat. He is also awaiting trial for conspiracy to supply cocaine, over claims that he was the middleman in the sale of half a kilo of the drug, and had admitted conspiring to steal cars and machinery.
A photo issued by National Crime Agency of Keith Turner who is sought by police for four offences of obtaining property by deception
* Keith Turner, 60, from Northumbria, was released on licence in 1993 after serving 20 years in jail for the manslaughter of his mother and sister at their home in Cramlington. He got a job working for a charity in Slough in 1998, but two years later was arrested on suspicion of issuing himself four cheques worth a total of £10,000. He failed to appear in court to face charges.
* Lee Willis, 30, from Ashton Under Lyne admitted possessing cocaine and cannabis in March this year but went on the run before he was due to be sentenced in June. He is also accused of dealing the class A drug.
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