Scotland

European Arrest Warrants issued in organised crime probe

European Arrest Warrants have been issued for (top l to r) Barry and James Gillespie, (bottom l to r) Christopher Hughes, James White and Jordan Owen
Image caption European Arrest Warrants have been issued for Barry and James Gillespie, Christopher Hughes, James White and Jordan Owen

European Arrest Warrants have been issued for five Scots linked to one of the country's top organised crime groups.

James Gillespie, 45, his brother Barry, 41, Jordan Owen, 24, James White, 41, and Christopher Hughes, 30, are wanted in connection with multiple offences.

Police said the men were known to travel extensively worldwide, however their current whereabouts was unknown.

The men were identified as part of Police Scotland's Operation Escalade.

'Serious offences'

Det Supt Stephen Grant said: "Operation Escalade is an ongoing investigation into one of the country's top-tier serious organised crime groups.

"We are appealing to the public to come forward with any information they may have regarding the whereabouts of these named individuals who are wanted in connection with a number of serious offences."

What is a European Arrest Warrant?

The European Arrest Warrant is valid throughout all member states of the European Union.

The warrant allows EU members to request the arrest and detention of criminals in other countries without extradition talks between them.

However, in June 2018 the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the deal would no longer apply to the UK after Brexit.

Talks are currently ongoing with the aim of setting up a "streamlined" extradition process between the EU and UK instead.