Manchester

Fugitive Andrew Moran arrested in Spain

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Media captionPolice crept up on Andrew Moran as he sat by a pool in a luxury villa north of Benidorm

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives has been arrested in a raid on a luxury villa on Spain's Costa Blanca.

Andrew Moran, 31, from Salford, Manchester, was detained after a pursuit by police in the Alicante resort of Calpe on Friday.

He was charged with an armed robbery of Royal Mail guards in Lancashire in 2005 but absconded during his trial.

The jury later returned a guilty verdict and he was convicted in his absence.

Spain's National Police said Moran confronted officers when they tried to arrest him.

'No hiding place'

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said two handguns, 60 rounds of ammunition and a machete were recovered from his villa following his arrest.

Moran was placed on Soca's most wanted list after leaping from the dock and assaulting four security guards during his trial at Burnley Crown Court in February 2009.

Image caption Pictures released by police show Moran posing with two automatic weapons

He had taken part in an armed robbery, alongside Stephen Devalda, in which Royal Mail guards were threatened with a gun, machete and baseball bat in Colne in May 2005.

One of the guards was assaulted before the offenders escaped with £25,000.

The arrest of Moran was a joint operation between Soca, the north-west regional organised crime unit (Titan) and Spanish National Police.

Soca revealed Moran was located by local police officers in Los Alcazares, Spain in November but he evaded capture by ramming two unmarked police vehicles with his 4x4 vehicle and drove off at speed the wrong way down a motorway.

Det Ch Insp Janet Hudson, from Titan, said: "It just goes to show that we will stop at nothing to capture criminals wherever they are in the world."

Matt Burton, Soca's head of investigations, said although Moran had frequently changed his appearance and used false identities, there was "no hiding place".

Image caption Moran had been sitting by a swimming pool in a luxury villa when the house was raided

Moran was the last of seven men targeted as part of a multi-agency initiative to combat organised crime in Salford.

He was also on the most wanted list for Crimestoppers' Operation Captura campaign and his arrest means 50 fugitives have now been caught since it was launched.

Mr Burton said extradition proceedings were under way and Moran will be appearing at a court in Madrid on Monday.

Devalda, 29, also from Salford, was charged with robbery but failed to attend court and went on the run before being captured in Spain in March 2011.

He was later jailed at Preston Crown Court for nine years and eight months.

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