Spanish police have arrested one of Britain’s most wanted men after he was spotted strolling towards a pub in the holiday resort of Benidorm.
Gareth Bryan Edwards, who was listed by Spanish authorities as one of their ten most wanted fugitives in November last year, was held late on Friday night in the Little England area of city.
The 25-year-old, who is said to have been in possession of a small amount of cocaine when he was detained, is facing three life sentences in the UK for crimes including robbery with violence and intimidation.
Described as being armed and “very dangerous”, Edwards reportedly showed police a passport with a photograph of another man in it when he was approached. When challenged over this, he is said to have pushed the officers who were questioning him before fleeing the scene.
Local media said he was later found hiding in a swimming pool in a nearby apartment complex.
Police confirmed his identity after running fingerprint tests.
A statement issued by Spanish police in November read: “Gareth Bryan Edwards, 25, from Aylesbury in the United Kingdom.
“Wanted by the British authorities through a European Arrest Warrant with a maximum anticipated punishment of three life sentences for the crimes of robbery with violence and intimidation.
“He is a very dangerous person and is probably armed and carrying drugs.”
Edwards, who is thought to have supported himself by selling drugs during his year on the run, now faces extradition back to the UK after being remanded in custody by a Spanish judge.
Police in the UK have for years worked closely with their counterparts in Spain, which has long been a popular destination for serious and organised criminals on the run from British authorities.
For more than a decade, the UK’s National Crime Agency and the Crimestoppers charity has run Operation Captura, and joint initiative run with Spanish police designed to aid the hunt for UK fugitives hiding on the Spanish Costas.
Only last month, a British paedophile who spent more than three years on the run in Spain and France appeared in court charged with possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children after being apprehended thanks to the Captura campaign.
Stephen Carruthers was caught after he was involved in a road traffic accident near one of his hideouts in the south of France.
Marking the anniversary of Operation Captura in October last year, Lord Ashcroft, founder and Chair of Crimestoppers, said: “As we mark the tenth anniversary of Operation Captura, it is safe to say it has been an extremely effective was of tracking down some of the most wanted individuals who are deliberately running from justice.
“We know that with the help of the Spanish authorities, along with the public in Spain and the UK, we can find these people.”