UK Expat Communities In Spain "Potential Hideouts" For Fugitives

By Editorial 09 September, 2013

Areas in Spain with large British expat communities such as Malaga and Alicante have been described as "potential hideouts" for ten fugitives wanted by British law enforcement.

The hunt for the ten men forms a part of Operation Captura, a multi-agency campaign launched in 2006 to track down 65 individuals on the run in Spain. So far, 53 individuals have been apprehended, and two others have been removed from the list.

Dave Allen, who heads the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), explained in May that British criminals continue to flee to Spain in part because they can assimilate into the British community "very easily." SOCA is raising awareness of Operation Captura in partnership with the UK crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers.

Spain is also a traditional destination for British fugitives from justice because of a reputation gained between 1978 and 1985, when there was no extradition treaty between the two countries. However, a former criminal who now arranges legal representation for arrested expats was quoted in May as warning that the country is now "the worst place to go on the run." The most recent arrest took place in July, when a fugitive was found hiding in the panic room of a luxury villa in Malaga.

According to Allen: "The exceptional level of collaboration between Spanish and UK law enforcement authorities has resulted in 17 fugitives being arrested since April, including a number of Operation Captura targets, which is a remarkable result."

Roger Critchell, who is Crimestoppers' Director of Operations, observed that recent arrests showed that it was essential for there to be cooperation between UK and Spanish law enforcement, as well as between SOCA and the public.

Critchell added that members of the public who contacted Crimestoppers with information could remain anonymous and that they would not have to appear in court. SOCA itself does not take reports directly from the public.

Tags: Spain | Expats | Welfare | Lifestyle | Lifestyle |


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