A BRITISH man wanted by UK police on firearms charges has been arrested in Spain’s capital city.
Clinton Blakey, 36, was traced to Madrid after he disappeared after failing to appear at Leeds Magistrates Court.
He was due to face charges over a Glock semi-automatic pistol, a Howa bolt-action rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition, seized at a property on Stainbeck Lane, Leeds.
An international warrant for his arrest was issued.
The guns and ammo he is accused of being linked to were being held by Paul Shepherd, 43, a former professional footballer, who was convicted of possessing the guns and ammunition in June and awaits sentencing.
Blakey was suspected of arranging the transport of the firearms and ammunition from Liverpool to Leeds where they were then stored by Shepherd.
Blakey’s original arrest followed on from Shepherd’s and was part of Operation Venetic – the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted communications platform EncroChat.
Their arrests triggered a number of others across West Yorkshire, Merseyside and the North East.
One of these was Gerard Wignall, 33, from Merseyside, who was sentenced to 16 months in prison after his DNA was found on the rifle in Shepherd’s house.
Two further men, Carl O’Flaherty, 36, and Shane Kameka, 40, also from Leeds, were arrested for their involvement.
O’Flaherty awaits sentencing and in July Kameka received a five month sentence for his part in arranging transport of the firearms.
An additional man from Durham, Darryl Hall, 36, was arrested, charged, and is due to stand trial next year.
NCA Operations Manager, Nigel Coles, said: “Our team in the UK worked closely with our international liaison officer network and Spanish police to track Blakey down, leading to his re-arrest.
“Illegal firearms are used by criminals to threaten, intimidate, and destroy lives. No matter the lengths we need to go to, we never stop working to bring suspected firearms traffickers to account.”
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