Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

UK 'most wanted' list for Cyprus

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has released details of suspects on a 'most wanted' list and thought to be hiding in Cyprus (Soca/PA)

Details of nine "most wanted" criminals suspected of offences including rape and drug dealing who are thought to be hiding in Cyprus have been unveiled.

Crimestoppers launched the list which was compiled with the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and Cypriot authorities.

It includes Paul Lockwood, 41, who is sought by Greater Manchester Police for allegedly raping a child; Wayne Smith, 38, who is wanted by West Midlands Police for his role in a horrific road accident that killed a 22-year-old man; and Costas Sampson, 21, accused of raping a woman in Ruislip, Middlesex.

The list also has details of suspects accused of drug dealing and fraud, including Martin John Power, 46, who is sought by the Metropolitan Police for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders out of an estimated £7 million, and Martin Evans, 50, from Swansea, who ran a drug-dealing gang between 1999 and 2001.

Founder of Crimestoppers Lord Ashcroft said: "My hope is that we shall see more success in bringing some of the UK's most wanted fugitives to justice.

"While these suspected criminals will see Cyprus as a safe place to evade law enforcement, my belief is that with the help of the local public and expatriate community, these individuals will not be able to escape justice for much longer."

The scheme, called Operation Zygos, targets criminals who could be in the Republic of Cyprus or Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus. Anyone with information is encouraged to come forward regardless of which part of the island the suspect is in.

Deputy director of Soca Martin Molloy said: "Fugitives hiding overseas typically remain part of the criminal world, continuing to bring harm to communities locally and beyond. Soca and our partners are determined to ensure life on the run is intolerable for them, and that they are returned to face justice in the UK."

People with information calling from Cyprus can contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 8000 55 11, or at www.crimestoppers.org.cy. Those calling from the UK can use 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Crimestoppers has run similar schemes including in Spain, where Operation Captura, launched in October 2006, led to 49 out of 65 suspects being arrested.

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