Less Wanted

    LAST UPDATED: 8 Oct, 2009 @ 21:55
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    Less Wanted

    A DANGEROUS sex offender who was placed on a list of the UK’s most wanted criminals thought to be living in Spain has been arrested in Greece.
    Stephen Burnell, 56, of Scunthorpe, has been missing since 2007, when he failed to attend York Crown Court for trial.
    He was convicted of offences including attempted rape in his absence and given a six-year jail term.
    Burnell was the second man wanted under an appeal targeting fugitives in Spain in just 24 hours.
    Leeds-born Ronald Priestley, 69, was arrested in Malaga on Wednesday in connection with £4.25m of currency counterfeiting offences.
    Burnell was detained on the Greek island of Crete on Wednesday.
    His offences were carried out in North Yorkshire and included the attempted rape and indecent assault of a nine-year-old girl who he abused over four years.
    Det Insp Keith Ruff, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation into Burnell, said: “We are delighted that the law has caught up with this man.
    “Burnell must now face up to his despicable crimes.”
    Last month Burnell was named as one of 10 men being targeted in Crimestoppers Operation Captura appeal on the Costa del Sol.
    The second most wanted man, Priestley was featured in the first appeals made under Operation Captura in October 2006.
    Crimestoppers’ founder and chairman, Lord Ashcroft, said: “To have two most wanted men arrested within 24 hours is an incredible achievement.
    “The fact is that more than half the criminals who have been featured under Operation Captura have already been caught.
    “Therefore my message to the rest of them, still on the run, is that it doesn’t matter which island they are sunning themselves on, they should put their affairs in order and find a tenant for their villas, because there’s a good chance they will be soon on their way home.”

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