A BRITISH paedophile has been arrested on the Costa del Sol after nearly 20 years on the run.
The capture of Glen Tranter, 40, came as it emerged that at least 37 sex offenders – including 24 British child abusers – have gone missing while travelling abroad.
A Freedom of Information request forced police in southern England to admit that dozens of sex offenders remain unaccounted for.
Now, crime agencies fear that many of the group will have fled to Spain.
“We knew straight away that he was the man the police were looking for. It’s just sickening when you think of the crimes he is wanted for.”
“Spain is traditionally a hideout for UK criminals and it is fairly easy to blend into the expat community due to the high numbers of Britons living here,” said Spain-based private detective Roy Whitehouse of WIS International.
Whitehouse explained that they usually change their appearance and use new names via fake passports.
The former Scotland Yard detective added: “It is vital to keep a close eye on anyone acting suspiciously with children, and immediately report any suspicious behaviour.”
Christine Beddoe, of child protection charity Ecpat UK, slammed the revelations.
“We’ve got to do something about it to stop these people from abusing children abroad,” she criticised.
“The police have the powers to stop them travelling. “They must use them.”
Last week, Tranter – who is wanted for eight counts of sex with underage girls in the UK – was caught by police in Benalmadena.
Incredibly, the pervert – who has been sought since 1992 – was caught after a Crimewatch TV appeal revealed his identity to unsuspecting expats who knew him.
Dumbstruck Britons Niki Hindley, 26, and Lee Doherty, 26, immediately called the police after the exposé.
Doherty explained: “We knew straight away that he was the man the police were looking for.
“Niki and I both felt there was something not quite right with him the moment we met him.”
And Hindley added: “It’s just sickening when you think of the crimes he is wanted for.”
The Olive Press meanwhile can reveal the identity of four known sex offenders believed to be at large on the Costa del Sol.
Fatah Benlaredj, Martin Anthony Smith, Peter Wheatherley and Anthony John Keith (see pictures above) are all missing according to Crimestoppers’ Most Wanted campaign.
From left to right, Benlaredj, 32, born in Algeria, is wanted for the rape of a seven-year-old girl after originally befriending her mother using a social networking site.
Smith, 44, is wanted for a number of sex crimes involving underage children, and is believed to be on the run with his wife and five-year-old daughter.
Meanwhile, Wheatherley, aged between 35 and 40, is wanted for sexual assault. He has light brown hair, medium build and a northern accent.
And Keith, 46, was convicted of possessing indecent photographs of children in Wakefield 2002, but failed to show for sentencing.
Crimestoppers’ Director of Operations, Dave Cording warned: “Please don’t approach these individuals as they are known to be dangerous.
“These appeals include some very nasty individuals and crimes.
“If you recognise any of them, please contact Crimestoppers immediately as all information is taken in total anonymity.”
In 2008, the Olive Press helped track down one of the then most wanted, after a tip-off from a reader.
Daniel Johnston, who was wanted for armed robbery, was eventually arrested at the home he was renting in the village of Pruna, in Sevilla province.
If you have any information on dangerous sex offenders or other criminals please contact the Olive Press on 951166060 or email [email protected]