'Most wanted' alleged drugs baron hands himself in complaining of 'pressure'
A suspected drug dealer from Liverpool has handed himself in, complaining that the "pressure of being on the run had got too much for him" after he was named in a Most Wanted list of on-the-run criminals.
Robert Gerrard, 53, made arrangements through his solicitor to meet National Crime Agency (NCA) officers at Central Park Police Station in Manchester.
He was arrested and charged with conspiracy to import cocaine in a £60 million drugs plot.
Gerrard is the third Most Wanted fugitive arrested in less than a week after suspected paedophile Matthew Sammon and convicted rapist Mohammed Alam, 33, were both captured in Spain in recent days.
Gerrard's mugshot featured in Operation Return, a campaign to capture some of Britain's most wanted criminals on the run in the Netherlands.
The NCA appealed for help to find him following a raid in October 2013 on a Rotterdam cafe used as a front for a global operations centre for international drug traffickers.
Cafe de Ketel, which could only be entered via a buzzer system and was strictly for known faces, provided a meeting place where criminals negotiated with cartel members and arranged the financing and transportation of drugs.
NCA officers believe Gerrard, who could not be located at the time of the raid, used the cafe as part of a plot to import large quantities of cocaine into the UK.
Greg McKenna, regional head of investigations for the NCA, said: "Robert Gerrard handing himself in shows the impact we are having with our Most Wanted campaigns. Three arrests in under a week is a tremendous result.
"We don't know at this stage how long Gerrard has been back in the UK for, but he told our officers that the pressure of being on the run had got too much for him.
"The fugitives on our Most Wanted list really do have nowhere to hide. I would urge any of the remaining ones to take note - save yourself the trouble and hand yourself in because we will never stop hunting you and you will face justice."
As part of Operation Return, Gerrard's picture appeared in the news both at home and overseas in 2014. Since the appeal, officers from the NCA had been pursuing him with the help of the Dutch National Police, following up numerous leads on locations in the Netherlands and the UK where he was thought to be hiding.
Roger Critchell, director of operations for Crimestoppers, said: "The fact Robert Gerrard handed himself in to police is again an indication that when the pressure mounts, hiding places become harder to find.
"This is a great result as it follows two fugitive arrests in the last week from our sister campaign targeting those on the run in Spain. These campaigns really do work."
Gerrard appeared at Manchester Magistrates' Court on Wednesday afternoon. He was remanded in custody until his next hearing at Manchester Crown Court on November 23.