One of wanted 'Unlucky 13' arrested
Authorities hunting for a n "unlucky 13" of Britain's most wanted criminals thought to be hiding in Spain have arrested their first target - a convicted sex offender.
Michael McCartney, 78, was detained in Alicante today, just hours after the list of suspects accused of attempted murder, drug smuggling and child abuse was disclosed.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) spokesman said: "Acting on intelligence, officers from the Spanish National Police arrested convicted sex offender Michael McCartney at an address in Alicante at around 4.30pm.
"He will now appear before a Spanish court where extradition proceedings will begin."
Full details of the list were given by the charity Crimestoppers, the NCA and Spanish police in Madrid this morning.
It included paedophile McCartney, from Letchworth, Hertfordshire, who was convicted of abusing three boys, grooming them by buying them expensive gifts before committing sex crimes.
He was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child and inciting sexual activity involving penetration in March 2013, and failed to attend court the following month for sentencing.
Another of the 13 is Robert Mortby, 26, from London, who is suspected of attempted murder over an attack on a man outside a pub in Elephant and Castle, south London.
The victim was drinking at the Rose and Crown in July last year when he was hit over the head with a bottle and shot three times. Mortby is suspected of being one of his two attackers.
Brian Thexton , 37, from Durham, also features on the list. He is accused of being involved in robberies where a gang would tie up homeowners and force them to give up alarm codes and safe combinations.
In one the gang impersonated police officers to dupe the victims into opening the door, before brandishing a pick axe handle and a baseball bat.
He is also awaiting trial for conspiracy to supply cocaine, over claims that he was the middleman in the sale of half a kilo of the drug, and had admitted conspiring to steal cars and machinery.
The list was published as part of Operation Captura, a scheme to trace criminals who are thought to have fled to Spain.
It is the eighth appeal of its kind since Captura was launched in 2006, and so far 53 out of 63 named suspects have been caught.
Founder of Crimestoppers Lord Ashcroft said: "Despite our success so far, there are still a number of dangerous criminals who see Spain as a safe haven to hide from their past, but with the support of the Spanish and UK public, we can hunt them out and bring them to justice."
Hank Cole, from the NCA, said: "Spain is not a safe haven. Fifty three fugitives have been caught since Captura was launched, and many more linked to other operations.
"The most important thing though is the power of this campaign to harness the eyes and ears of the public, both here and in Spain."