England

Panic room fugitive Mark Lilley jailed in UK

  • 6 August 2013
  • From the section England

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who was caught hiding naked in a panic room at his Spanish villa, has been returned to the UK and jailed.

Mark Lilley, 41, of Warrington, went on the run in 2000 when he skipped bail during a trial for drug trafficking.

He was sentenced to 23 years in prison in his absence.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said an extradition team flew Lilley to the UK on Monday afternoon and he was taken to HMP Belmarsh.

Dave Allen, head of the Fugitives Unit at Soca, said: "Joint working with the Spanish National Police has resulted in Lilley being captured and now he's been returned to the UK to serve a 23-year sentence for masterminding a large-scale drug operation.

"Lilley was on the run for 13 years but we never gave up. He thought he could evade capture by changing his identity and moving around but he was wrong.

"Soca and its partners have the capability to pursue criminals relentlessly, track them down, and put them behind bars."

Lilley was arrested last month when Spanish police and officers from Soca raided his home in the Alhurin de la Torre area of Malaga.

The operation to capture Lilley saw 40 armed officers climb over a gate at his home, before smashing through his front door with a battering ram.

Lilley was found in a panic room concealed behind a wardrobe in his bedroom.

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