Lord Ashcroft: Crimestoppers launches hunt for dangerous foreign criminals hiding in the UK
They are making a joint appeal to hunt 18 of the most-wanted foreign national fugitives believed to be hiding in the United Kingdom. The suspected criminals, made up of “high-risk offenders”, include two alleged gunmen who fatally shot their victims, a suspected violent abductor and a man wanted for the rape of a teenager.
These individuals are wanted by other European law enforcement agencies and are believed to be hiding in areas that include London, Reading, Manchester and Leicester. The suspects are trying to evade prosecution and so the new scheme seeks to identify and apprehend them.
The fugitives are believed to have committed crimes in Albania, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Turkey.
2013 marks the 25th anniversary of Crimestoppers, the only charity in the country that seeks to solve crime. I founded the charity in 1988, but it is down to the hard work and innovative thinking of its staff, volunteers and others that Crimestoppers has been such a success.
The aim of Operation Sunfire is to track down and arrest murderers, violent robbers, drug traffickers and other criminals hiding in the UK. Once detained, they will be put before the extradition courts to face justice abroad - and therefore no longer be a threat to this country.
Similar projects have been launched by Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), whereby suspected UK national criminals are believed to be evading justice in popular ex-pat countries, including Spain and the Netherlands.
The most recent initiative, Operation Zygos, was launched in Cyprus in September last year. It has already led to the arrest of three of the nine individuals who were being hunted. Operation Captura, launched in Spain in October 2006, has resulted in 49 out of 65 targeted criminals being arrested, with many now behind bars.
Information given anonymously to Crimestoppers can help lead to the location and arrest of these 18 wanted foreign nationals, who could be hiding anywhere in the UK, although many are believed to have links to London.
Crimestoppers relies on a three-way partnership between the business community, the police and the media. Businesses put up money to finance the scheme, the police are willing to act on information from the public and the media highlights the charity’s work.
Since Crimestoppers began, it has received over a million actionable calls, resulting in more than 120,000 arrests and charges. Stolen goods worth more than £125 million have been recovered and drugs worth more than £292 million have been seized.
If you have any information about the whereabouts of any of these 18 fugitives – 17 men and one woman – please call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Individuals can also pass on information anonymously via the Crimestoppers website. If you see one of the fugitives, call 999 – but do not approach him (or her).
Crimestoppers is an independent crime-fighting charity and so it can receive information anonymously and pass it on to police. The details of all 18 suspects are available on Crimestoppers’ Most Wanted website.