'Costa del crime' Briton hands himself in

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The Independent Online

A man named as one of the UK's 10 most wanted criminal suspects living in Spain was in custody today after handing himself in to a British consulate.

Michael Eddleston, 27, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was wanted in connection with three counts of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.



He handed himself in to the British consulate in Majorca yesterday and was arrested, crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers said.



Eddlestone was one of 10 men featured earlier this month in an appeal on the Costa Del Sol, known as Operation Captura.



The charity's founder and chairman Lord Ashcroft said: "To have a wanted individual hand themselves in within a week of the launch of Operation Captura is a fantastic result.



"It clearly shows that by publicising the faces of these men, the media can play a key role in flushing dangerous criminals out of hiding. Although criminals can run, as a result of Operation Captura, they can't hide for long."



Among those still on the "most wanted" list are men suspected of robbery, child sex offences, drug smuggling and violence.



They include Liverpool heroin smuggler Joseph Morley, 46, who disappeared while on licensed day release during a 15-year prison sentence.



Others are suspected child rapist Martin Smith, 44, from Tyneside, convicted child sex offender Stephen Burnell, 56, of Scunthorpe, and suspected Manchester jewellery robber Benjamin Murphy.



Several Spanish coastal resorts have been dubbed the Costa del Crime since the 1970s because hundreds of wanted British criminals are thought to have fled there.



The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and Spanish police authorities are also involved in the initiative.



Several waves of appeals, first launched in October 2006, have led to the arrest of 23 out of 40 suspects.

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