SEVEN British fugitives have been tracked down and arrested in Spain within a fortnight, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has revealed.

The fugitives, all men and all hiding out on the costas, were tracked down in joint operations between the NCA, regional police forces in the UK and Spain’s Policia Nacional.

The men were wanted on charges ranging from drug offences to arms trafficking and from causing wounding with intent to conspiracy to rob with five of them tracked down to the Costa del Sol while the other two were caught on the Costa Blanca.

Details of the arrests and cooperation between forces were revealed in a statement released by the NCA on Monday.

The first in the spate of arrests took place at the end of June in Estepona on the Costa del Sol when a 45-year-old fugitive was arrested over a 40kg cocaine conspiracy.

Then in the early hours of July 4, police moved in on a 27-year-old man in Marbella who was wanted by Greater Manchester Police over a wounding with intent offence.

On July 5 in Fuengirola, also on the Costa del Sol, Policia Nacional arrested a 39-year-old British man who had been on the run since 2017. He was wanted by West Midlands Police on suspicion of cocaine and firearms supply.

A day later and the Policia Nacional tracked down two brothers aged 37 and 35, who were also wanted by Greater Manchester Police, for allegedly supplying cocaine. The pair were arrested in Alicante.

On July 7, a 36-year-old man wanted by Merseyside Police was arrested in Estepona for allegedly supplying firearms and Class A and B drugs.

And on July 12, a 26-year old man wanted by Greater Manchester Police was arrested in Fuengirola in connection to affray with a machete.

All the suspects are currently in custody pending extradition proceedings.

Southern Spain has long been attractive to British fugitives from justice earning it the nickname Costa del Crime.

It became a haven for those on the run during a period between 1978 and 1985 when extradition agreements between Spain and the UK broke down.

But although extradition agreements have now long been in place and forces work in close collaboration, it continues to be a magnet thanks to the transport links and ease of blending in among the large expat community.

The NCA’s international liaison officers worked with Spanish partners and the Crown Prosecution Service to execute the arrests – some under pre-existing European Arrest Warrants, and some under new Trade and Cooperation Agreement warrants.

Dave Hucker Head of European Operations at the NCA, said: “Seven arrests in just three weeks is the result of some very hard work by the Agency with our Spanish partners – who have allocated critical resources and operated quickly to secure these arrests.

“Fugitives should know that the NCA work hand in glove with international law enforcement partners, and that we therefore have significant reach.

“At home and abroad we will never give up on finding offenders who have fled justice.”

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