Sunday, 30 September 2007

Organised criminal gangs from Bulgaria, Colombia and Nigeria are flooding the Costa del Sol with counterfeit Euro notes

Posted On 07:13 2 comments

Organised criminal gangs from Bulgaria, Colombia and Nigeria are flooding the Costa del Sol with counterfeit Euro notes, Spanish media reported Sunday.

Most of the gangs involved are from these three countries, according to the head of the Financial Crime section of the UDEV specialist police unit, Juan Titos.

He is quoted in the La Opinion de Málaga newspaper saying that the notes are put into circulation, bit by bit, and that his unit has broken up half a dozen gangs over the last few months.

The false notes are usually passed on to a series of people who spend the notes at face value, having previously purchased them in bulk for as little as 5% of that amount

Saturday, 29 September 2007

: "Britain has become the Costa del Crime for foreign criminals who lose themselves in Britain knowing that they are unlikely to be deported when conv

Posted On 20:05 0 comments

"Britain has become the Costa del Crime for foreign criminals who lose themselves in Britain knowing that they are unlikely to be deported when convicted of serious crime."

Spain was also named the worst country for overseas credit-card theft

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The Spanish authorities have warned that you should also be alert to the availability and possible use of 'date rape' and other drugs, including 'GBH' and liquid ecstasy," the Foreign Office says on its website. "You should purchase your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times to make sure they cannot be spiked."

Spain was also named the worst country for overseas credit-card theft in 2005. Of the 32,123 credit and debit cards stolen from British holidaymakers last year, more than a quarter (8,250) were snatched from people holidaying in Spain.

The increasing number of violent assaults in Benidorm has set back attempts by the Spanish resort to attract a more upmarket clientele.

Posted On 19:54 0 comments

This week a British holidaymaker was paralysed and his friend left unconscious after a fight outside a nightclub in the so-called British quarter.

James Edward and Mark Bell, both 20, were found unconscious following the street brawl with a 20-strong gang in the early hours of the morning. Mr Edward was this week in intensive care at the Alicante General Hospital and paralysed from the neck down following a heavy blow to his back.
In July Graham Heggie, a 27-year-old Scottish holidaymaker, died in the town after a brawl just yards from the apartment in which he was staying. Earlier in the year, Alex Prosser, 73, another British visitor, suffered a fractured skull after being mugged in Benidorm for just £28.

The resort's tourism authorities had hoped that this sort of violence was a thing of the past. In March 2004 they announced that the image of Benidorm as a haven for British lager louts was about to change. Up to 1.5 million Britons holiday in the town each year, most of them taking packages or making their own way on no-frills flights and staying in cheap hotels.

Roc Gregori, Benidorm's tourism manager, hoped to lure a different type of traveller by focusing on the wide range of attractions in the area, such as Terra Natura, a theme park that explores the natural world, two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, and the concerts that are held in Benidorm's football stadium. It was also hoped that the construction of several luxury hotels -including Europe's tallest, the 600ft Gran Hotel Bali and the five-star Westin and Sheraton properties - would help to broaden Benidorm's appeal.

In addition to violent attacks, recent court cases have also put the resort in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Just last week a judge ruled that a convicted rapist from Cheshunt, Essex, should be extradited to Spain in connection with the brutal murder of a 35-year-old man and the attempted murder of the man's elderly mother 10 years ago at their home in Benidorm. In May, two men were jailed for the kidnap and murder of a British couple in Benidorm in 2002.

A spokeswoman for the tourist office said it could not verify that all these incidents took place in tourist areas of Benidorm. It is still continuing to try to promote the town as a safe, high-quality destination for holidaymakers.

Ronnie Knight

Posted On 19:47 0 comments

Once the UK’s most wanted man, Ronnie Knight was imprisoned for his part in the 1983 London Security Express heist of £7 million (£26 million today). Married for years to TV star Barbara Windsor, he divided his time between the celebrity party circuit in London and exile in the sun-drenched, luxurious surroundings of the Spanish coastal strip known as the Costa del Crime.

MANCHESTER computer expert has told of his terror after he was gunned down in a gangland-style shooting in Spain.

Posted On 19:44 0 comments

Mark Stuttard was visiting his sister Karen and her doctor husband at their home on the Costa del Sol when they were targeted by two hitmen.

One of the men shot Mr Stuttard's Italian brother-in-law Umberto Borsani twice in the legs at close range as he unloaded suitcases from his car.

The gunman then walked up to Mark and shot him twice in the leg. Both men have been treated in hospital.Police believe the men were the victims of mistaken identity.

Mr Stuttard, 31, said the attack took place within hours of him flying to visit his sister in Nueva Andalucia, near Marbella, to celebrate her 41st birthday.

Karen has settled down in the area and runs a GP clinic with her 41-year-old husband.

Mr Stuttard said: "When we got there I saw two men standing in the parking area talking.


"Umberto got out of the car to get my bags from the boot and I got out and was helping my sister out of the back seat. As I did so, I saw one of the men come up very close behind Umberto, then I heard two bangs and he fell to the ground. The gunman was so close he could have killed him if he wanted to.

"At that point my thoughts switched to my sister. The car is a two-door so I held the front seat down so that she could not get out.

"The man with the gun then came around the car, seemed surprised to see me, looked me up and down then he shot me twice before firing again as he ran off. He couldn't have been more than a metre away." Mr Stuttard, who lives in a Manchester city centre apartment, added: "It is all a bit crazy, no motive, no warning, no message."

"The police said it looked like some kind of gangland thing as the area has a bit of a reputation for that kind of thing."

One of the bullets hit Mr Stuttard near his left knee and another struck him higher in the same leg. The bullets passed straight through his leg and out the other side.

Doctors have told him he has had a lucky escape because one of the bullets passed very close to a main artery.

He said: "At first I didn't know what had happened. It was only when I looked down and saw my jeans covered in blood that I realised I had been shot.

"It's the new Costa del Crime,"

Posted On 19:39 0 comments

he says, thanks to the numbers of Brits fleeing the law at home for lives of lucrative, beachfront liberty in Thailand. "You see them all there in their singlets and tattoos. It's a perfect place for them. What the Thais must think of British people I have no idea."

Pattaya gained its reputation as a place where sex was for sale during the Vietnam war when US servicemen would come to Thailand for "rest and rehabilitation". The trade continued after the war, with western tourists filling the vacuum. Now everything sexual is available. Young women dressed as schoolgirls beckon customers into Classroom-A-Go-Go (motto: "study hard") and young men in white T-shirts and shorts follow suit at Narcissus. There are women dressed as secretaries at a bar called the Office Girls and encased in silver dresses at another, Crystal Girls. "What makes it attractive for someone on the run is that it is very easy to pick up bogus ID, it's very cheap to live and you can get yourself fixed up with a Thai woman very easily," says Sweeney.

The lid was lifted on the British expat underworld in Pattaya during a murder trial at the Old Bailey in December. Matthew O'Connor, a London taxi driver and martial-arts expert who co-managed the Camden club Barzaar, was charged with the 1997 killing of Ronald Hinkson outside his club. O'Connor, who fled the country with a false passport immediately after the killing, was tracked down to Thailand four years later and spent two years in jail there fighting extradition. He was acquitted of the murder after he told the jury that he had not been involved and had only disappeared because he believed the dead man's friends were after him.

O'Connor, like many on the run, had managed to create a new world for himself in Pattaya, complete with a Thai partner with whom he had a son. He might have spent the rest of his life there, untroubled by the British police, had it not been for another Pattaya expat, Ian Muirhead. A small, nervy man, Muirhead had been in jail for various offences in Britain and the US before he ended up enjoying the benefits of Thailand. There he set himself up as a cigarette smuggler and importer of fake Gucci and Louis Vuitton accessories. He also made a speciality of supplying fake visas and travel documents, thus facilitating illegal immigration scams.

Muirhead's modus operandi, typical of the counterfeit trade from Thailand, was to purchase fake fancy goods at a fraction of the price of the genuine article, ship them back to London and have them sold off by associates working in the London markets. He was not making a fortune - he reckoned between £2,000 and £4,000 per monthly trip - but combined with the phoney visa business, it provided a comfortable life. He was arrested in England in 2002 after trying to pull off one trip too many. In exchange for a £21,000 reward, he divulged the new identity and whereabouts of O'Connor, then operating under the name of Roy Cann. He is now living at a secret location.

O'Connor, who had used Muirhead to collect money for him from London, had also found the counterfeit goods trade allowed him a comfortable life in Thailand. Like Muirhead, he traded in replica football shirts, buying them for £3 and selling them for £15. The fact that Thailand is one of the world centres of counterfeit production provides expat criminals with a wonderful way of making money relatively free from risks. If they have legal problems, the police are very bribable.

The old Costa del Crime in the south of Spain was where villains took advantage of the collapse in 1978 of the extradition agreement between Spain and the UK. For a while in the 1980s, up to 100 major British criminals enjoyed their San Miguels without fear of a hand on the collar of their Hawaiian shirts (the door to Spain was closed in 1985 with a new extradition accord, although it didn't apply to those who were there already). The old Costa del Crime provided a haven with full access to the staples of the expat Brit: televised football, beer and breakfast. Pattaya can offer all of these - along with a young female population who show an unfailing attraction to well-off, middle-aged Brits in shorts and sandals.

So is Pattaya really the new Costa del Crime? "Not at all; it's more like Blackpool," says one expat Londoner who now owns a bar just up the road from the Dog's Bollocks, where Muirhead and his pals hung out. The staff and customers there were more reticent: a journalist exploring this theme around the time of the last World Cup got, I was told, "a smack in the mouth".

"It's really very relaxed," says the Londoner. "There are a few ex-cons here but I don't know of anyone on the run - apart from one guy who's now gone to the Philippines [which has no extradition treaty with Britain]. You get all kinds here: your golfing fraternity and just normal people." Oddly, no one in this supposedly family-friendly golfing idyll wants to talk on the record. To an observer, indeed, Pattaya is much more identifiable as the home of "beer bars" where a "bar fine" is paid to take a woman off for sex, or go-go bars where "lady drinks" are bought for the dancers, who are also available for sex for as little as £10. A Brit on the run can, for very little investment, find himself a woman, a place to stay, a new identity and, with the right connections, a way of scamming enough money to stay for ever.

Of course, there are plenty of expats who have nothing to do with crime and who are attracted by the sun and cheap property. Around £30,000 will buy a very comfortable apartment near the beach, and rents are minimal - 650,000 British tourists visit Pattaya every year. One legitimate English businessman who has been in Pattaya for a decade says he has seen the town grow by 10% a year since then. There were some problems on the criminal front, he says, but mainly with people who overstayed their visas.

There have, however, certainly been no shortage of crime stories involving Britons in the town. Last month, Bernard Le Court, a 52-year-old chef from Liverpool who moved to Thailand six years ago to open a restaurant, had his throat cut in Pattaya. A local taxi driver was arrested after the body was found in bushes near Pluta Luang, 22 miles south of the town. He was said to have heavy gambling debts and to have robbed Le Court of his camera equipment and money. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

The lively local paper Pattaya Today, one of three local English-language publications, provides a round-up of the criminal happenings complete with graphic photos: Thai police make a speciality of posing beside the bodies of murder victims. In one week last month it was carrying reports of a Briton, Alexander Downey, caught with three packs of "ice" (pure amphetamines), and a report that noted that "the Brit's landlady said she believed he had made some enemies in Pattaya and they had decided to put an end to his nefarious activities". Another report told of a "Swiss guy found expired in condo - possibly hit with hard object".

It is not only British criminals who are attracted to Thailand; while the British and Australians are the most involved in the counterfeit business, some sex trade and drugs, Russians are involved in prostitution and West Africans in drugs and diamonds. Down on the front, one 20-year-old Thai businessman offering fake YSL suits says that Englishmen have a bad reputation locally: "They get very drunk and sometimes you get a group of them and they take a woman and they don't want to pay her and they rape her. There are Germans, too, but the English are the worst." Pat, a 27-year-old Thai bar-girl, says the English are the best and the worst customers. What does she mean? "They do like to get very drunk."

Unlike Patong, Thailand's other main hangout for British expats and tourists, Pattaya was not affected by the Boxing Day tsunami. There is little doubt, however, that the catastrophe in the region may have provided some people with a perfect way of disappearing. There are many apocryphal tales in Pattaya about British criminals who got new identities after claiming that their passports had been washed away in the waves. Even if they can't secure a phoney identity in Thailand, a taxi ride from Pattaya takes you over the border into Cambodia where it is even easier to disappear. Last summer, a bogus passport ring was busted in Bangkok with false ID from New Zealand, France, Belgium and Spain being sold for as little as €1,500 (£1,000 each). There are services available, too, for criminals who want to stay in Thailand but who do not want the risk and bother of travelling abroad to get their visa renewed. For 3,200 baht (£42) for a tourist visa or 7,500 baht (£100) for a three month non-immigrant visa, someone will leave the country on your behalf and return with the necessary renewal stamp.

There are currently 41 Britons in jail in Thailand, according to Prisoners Abroad, mostly on drugs charges; some are serving sentences of 49 or even 99 years, their only faint hope a royal pardon. The jail where they are housed, the Bang Kwang or "Bangkok Hilton", has now become so notorious that visiting a detained Brit has been added to the list of things to do for backpackers in the area. In a recent book called Guns, Girls, Gambling, Ganja, three Thai academics from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok wrote that "Thailand has acquired an international reputation as a country where illegal businesses can flourish because of poor law enforcement. This is bad for Thailand's international reputation." It is, however, good for a Brit on the run.

Crimestoppers confirms the arrest in Spain of Anthony David Simmons

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Crimestoppers confirms the arrest in Spain of Anthony David Simmons, who was featured on our Most Wanted website and was wanted in connection with the importation of 568kg of cannabis resin from Spain to the UK. The offence occurred on 7thNovember 2004. This arrest is the first success of Crimestoppers ‘Operation Captura’ campaign, to find wanted UK criminals living in the Costa del Sol and bring them back to the UK’s criminal justice system. Simmons was arrested by the Spanish authorities on 3December in Spain. Crimestoppers has no more details on the circumstances of his arrest and will not release any further information to protect the anonymity of our callers. As a result of this success Crimestoppers today announces details of 10 new appeals for wanted criminals in Spain.Mick Laurie, Chief Executive of Crimestoppers, said: “This success shows the impact that the public can have on helping to reduce crime and we are grateful for their support and interest. There are no hiding places for these criminals and I wouldencourage anyone in Spain who recognises these criminals to call Crimestoppers safely and anonymously on 900 555 111 no one will know you called, except you.” Crimestoppers is the UK’s only independent charity helping to solve crime. The charity launched the first ever campaign to target UK criminals living on the Costa del Sol on 31 October. The three-month pilot project ‘Operation Captura’ identifies serious criminals wanted by UK law enforcement agencies for crimes committed in the UK. Crimestoppers is working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British law enforcement, Spanish law enforcement, Telefonica and the British Embassy in Madrid.
Crimestoppers has received over 125 pieces of useful intelligence on wanted criminals which is being passed back to the police in Spain. The campaign encourages anyonewho recognises the wanted criminals on its website to call Crimestoppers from Spain, to give information anonymously on a dedicated Spanish free phone number 900 555 111. All calls are answered in the UK by Crimestoppers call handlers. Spanish nationals can request the language line facility when they call Crimestoppers to give information in Spanish.Among the appeals: Kevin Thomas PARLE Offences:• PARLE is wanted for two murders in Liverpool; namely • The murder of 16 year old Liam Kelly in 2004 • The murder of Lucy Hargreaves in 2005. Mother of a 2 year old daughter, Hargreaves was shot, had petrol poured on her and was set on fire in her family home. Anthony CRAGGS Offences: Craggs is wanted for two armed robberies using firearms that occurred in Bournemouth and Edinburgh in 2003. A total of £90,000 was stolen as it was being delivered to two branches of the Abbey National by Securicor guards who were violently assaulted during both of the robberies. John Edward DOWDALLOffences: DOWDALL is believed to be resident in Spain and was convicted in 2005 for five years imprisonment for being involved in the importing of 532kg of cannabis into the UK from Spain in 2003. DOWDALL was convicted in his absence after failing to attend the trial,after the Court had been informed that he had returned to his home in SpainMark Alan LILLEY Offences: Lilley is from the Warrington area and was convicted at Bolton Crown Court in April 2000 to 23 years imprisonment for conspiracy to supply controlled drugs (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamine, cannabis and cannabis resin) and for possession of a firearm. Lilley skipped bail during the trial and was convicted in his absence.
Offences: Obtaining property mortgages by deception (3 offences in total, jointly with 7 others with a total monetary value of £1.2 million)John Edward SETON Offences: SETON is wanted for the murder of Jon Bartlett in Chislehurst, Kent in March 2006. Markcus JAMAL Offences: • JAMAL is wanted for conspiracy to murder Nageeb El Hakem in Sheffield in November 2005. Robert Andrew SPIERS Offences:SPIERS is wanted for conspiracy to murder David Totton at the Brass Handles Public House in Salford in March 2006. Two males sent to murder David Totton were shot dead after attempting to murder David Totton inside the pub. David Totton was injured in the incident but refused to assist Police with their inquiries. David Anthony STUARTOffences: Stuart was arrested in Accrington in July 2004 in possession of 20,000 ecstasy tablets and subsequently failed to attend his trial at Preston Crown Court in June 2005. He was charged with two offences of: • Conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug, namely MDMA (Ecstasy) • Possession with intent to supply a Class A controlled drug Dennis Patrick O’BRIENOffences: • O’BRIEN is wanted for conspiracy to supply 1.6 tonnes of cocaine with a street value of £166 million. He has also had a Life Licence for murder (convicted in 1983) revoked and is now required to serve the remainder of his life sentence.
For press enquiries relating to Crimestoppers contact Michele Harris, PR & Marketing Manager – Crimestoppers on 020 8254 3230 or michele.harris@crimestoppers-uk.orgOut of normal office hours call 07900 694 904 Notes to Editors: Crimestoppers is the only charity dedicated to solving crimes and taking criminals off the streets. Around 17 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers. One person is charged with murder every week, as a result of informationgiven to Crimestoppers.Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, we have had over 850,000 calls. There have been over 75,000 arrests, over £95m property has been recovered and over £130m worth of drugs has been seized. Crimestoppers UK was founded by Lord Ashcroft KCMG, Chairman of Trustees. In1988 he launched the Community Action Trust (CAT) in the Metropolitan Police area. CAT was renamed Crimestoppers in 1995 and required a three-way partnership between the business community, the police and the media.

Three tonnes of hash were intercepted by police when the raided a yacht in Alicante

Posted On 19:13 0 comments

Three tonnes of hash were intercepted by police when the raided a yacht in Alicante. Three Spanish men along with three Russians were arrested by the Guardia Civil on their luxury yacht near the main port. Police had used a fake kidnapping to question a fourth Russian, and received information which led to the interception.

the gang were using children under 18 to transport the drugs up and down the region.

Posted On 19:11 0 comments

Police in Orihuela have broken up a drug distribution operation. Sadly, the gang were using children under 18 to transport the drugs up and down the region. In the raid, 9kg of hash and nearly 2kg of cocaine were seized, along with 20,000€ of cash.

sex related attacks have increased by 40% in the last 4 years

Posted On 19:10 0 comments

A judge in Alicante has noted that sex related attacks have increased by 40% in the last 4 years. The numbers are supported by the Guardia Civil who estimate that they deal with 2 sex attacks per day.

The Costa Blanca has seen a number of crime incidents, some serious. However, it appears that 75% of the crime is committed by non-EU foregners.

Posted On 19:06 0 comments

In Tibi, police broke up a running street fight between a gang from Alicante and local residents. Some people are saying that the gang had targeted the fiesta and is know for its violence.

Since the discovery of the bodies of 2 Irish criminals, found buried in 2 metres of concrete, it has emerged that the Irish Police have a near permanent presence on the Costa Blanca. They are continuing to assist Spainish Police to identify and prosecute criminals from Ireland who have fled to Spain. It is suspected that some of the criminals have a paramilitary history.

A British man has been jailed in Benidorm for 27 months after having been convicted of serious fraud. Mark Acklom had defrauded an Asian businessman out of €18million (£13million) in a property scam. He was led to believe he was investing in large property developments in Mascarat, Finestrat and Calpe.

In Villena, a groom was shot dead by his neighbour. The noise of the wedding celebrations were just too much for the neighbour, who fired his shotgun at the groom whilst he was singing on a balcony. The groom died an hour later from the wounds. The man was immediately arrested and taken into custody by the Guardia Civil.

The Chief Prosecutor, Jose Antonio Romero, has published figures which show that the majority of crime is committed by foreigners, and not by Spaniards. Of the 400 prisoners held in Alicante’s jails on remand, approximately 300 are foreigners, mainly from Romania, Croatia, Columbia and Algeria. It may come as no surprise that the charges against these people relate to drugs, violent robberies, sexual crimes and even attempted murder.

The head of the Capito Drugs Gang, Alfredo Garcia, has handed himself in. He escaped from prison 8 months ago and has been at large in the Alicante area ever since. He is believed to have health problems and has returned to prison in order to receive medical attention.

The employers of the men who were overcome by heat whilst fruit picking last week, have been arrested. The charges are for employing illegal workers. The men were picking fruit for the Finca do la Torre company in Alicante when they collapsed. The incident triggered an automatic health and safety investigation which revealed the illegality of the workers.

In San Vincente del Raspeig, a gang stole 10,000€ of merchandise from a jewelry store. People working in the store, including the owner, were tied up during the robbery. As they left, the thieves cut the telephone line, stile the store keys, and locked the workers who were still tied up, in the store. It took some time for one of the workers to free himself and call the police from his mobile phone.

Most Wanted on the Costas

Posted On 12:04 0 comments

James Hurley

Jailed for life over the shooting murder of Hertfordshire constable Frank Mason during a robbery. Escaped in 1994 during a prison transfer.

Christopher Guest More

Wanted over the kidnap and murder of Brian Waters at Burnt House Farm, Tabley, Cheshire, in July 2003.

Clifford Michael Hobbs

Escaped in a June 2003 prison van ambush en route from Brixton prison to court over a £1.25m security van heist. A guard was shot in the escape.

Mark Gottfried

Wanted over the supply of 5kg of cocaine in November 2000.

Ronald William Priestley

Wanted over counterfeit currency totalling £4.25m.

The Costa is no longer the criminal haven it was deemed to be in the sixties and seventies.

Posted On 11:57 0 comments

Crime? There are many misapprehensions about the Costa del Sol. First the criminal haven that stuck some thirty years ago. The Costa is no longer the criminal haven it was deemed to be in the sixties and seventies. There are criminals everywhere but you don't have to mingle with them any more than you would in your own crime-riddled country. Most residents say that they feel safer here than they do back home. Petty crime exists but it can be minimised with sensible precautions.


Posted On 11:46 0 comments

Two held in bizzare plan to kidnap archbishop here

Posted On 11:43 0 comments

Agents said at the time that the gang of kidnappers assisted Araya with the prison break in which a guard was murdered. Investigators figure that vehicles awaited the inmates outside the prison.
The gang was involved in high stakes kidnappings, mostly of businessmen. Unlike other criminals, they accepted property and cars as part payment of the ransom, officials said. Police attribute at least
four separate cases of kidnapping to the gang. In most cases the victims were held about a week.

Investigators are believed to have found out about the plan to grab Barrantes when they were investigating a recent kidnapping involving a businessman.

Two more suspects still are at large, so investigators are being careful about what they say. The only official word was a brief statement from the press office of the Judicial Investigating Organization.

That statement said that the arrests were made on the public right-of-way in San José, but other sources said the arrests were made Wednesday in Desamparados and Asserí.

As archbishop, Barrantes is the highest ranking Roman Catholic churchman in the country. He has held the post since 2002. Typically clergymen, including bishops, do not have high security.

The other prison inmate who is suspected of trying to engineer the kidnapping of the archbishop is believed to be a Colombian facing a long sentence for narcotics trafficking.


Posted On 11:40 0 comments

"Costa del Crime" since the 1970s, because hundreds of wanted British criminals are thought to be living there. The charity Crimestoppers has set up a hotline to help UK police forces track them down.

Crimestoppers is now operating outside the UK for the first time and hundreds of people have called its free phone line.

Information given to Crimestoppers last month has already led directly to the arrest of one man, a suspect on the most wanted list issued by British police, on 3 December

The bodies of the timeshare operators Billy and Flo Robinson were discovered next to their luxury cars in Tenerife in 2005.

Posted On 11:38 0 comments

The gunmen lay in wait as their prey parked, before riddling the car with bullets. Two of the passengers were killed immediately; the third died later in hospital.

The dead, all Colombians, were the latest victims of gangland hits on the Costa del Sol in the past three weeks, raising fears that a new crime war has erupted in a part of Spain traditionally popular with British expatriates.

These gangsters, say experts, are not looking for a quiet life. Colombian and Eastern European, they are ready to spill blood in their ruthless pursuit of profits from the multimillion-pound cocaine trade. The resulting tit-for-tat killings mean that the days of the so-called Costa del Crime, when retired British underworld “faces” kept a low profile, are over.

Last month an Estonian man was shot in the head in The Point, a bar in Marbella that is popular with Irish immigrants. Another man’s body was found in a burnt-out car in Estepona. He has not been identified.

A source at the Spanish Serious and Organised Crime Agency said: “The Iberian Peninsula is the main route for Class A drugs like cocaine, Ecstasy and heroin into the UK. The Colombians sell Class A drugs to British criminals, who then supply it to the UK.

“The difference between the two is that British criminals use murder and threats only as a last resort. The Colombians are more ready to settle scores.”

The Central Brigade for Organised Crime estimates that between 20 and 30 Colombian gangs with at least 300 members are operating in Spain. One officer from the unit told The Times: “They are drug dealers and robbers who are based in Spain but are capable of working across Europe. They are not afraid to use violence whenever necessary.”

There are 274,000 registered British residents on the Costa del Sol, and many thousands more are thought to live there for at least part of the year. For those seeking a quieter pace of life, random shootings are deeply unsettling.

Gwilym Rhys-Jones, adviser for the Costa del Sol Action Group, which offers support and advice for British expatriates, said: “It gives a feeling of anxiety here because these shootings happen in broad daylight in places which are ‘British territory’. What is scary is the East European gangs, who have no compulsion about using violence. People are horror-stricken.”

The Russian mafia has also extended its tentacles across Spain, exploiting lax property laws and a lack of police resources to launder millions of pounds gained from arms dealing, drug smuggling and prostitution. Last year, police struck a blow against the Georgian mafia with the arrest and extradition to Spain of Zajar Kalashov at his mansion in Dubai. Nicknamed “Mr Invisible” for his ability to elude police, he is accused of ordering the murder of a judge.

British criminals have not been averse to wiping out opponents. Last year, in The Point, William Moy, 43, from London, was gunned down at close range. In the same month, the Dublin gangsters Shane Coates, 31, and Stephen Sugg, 27, and the British playboy drug smuggler Colin Nobes, 47, were also murdered. The corpses of Coates and Sugg were found in a cement pit and Nobes’s was found under a motorway bridge.

The bodies of the timeshare operators Billy and Flo Robinson were discovered next to their luxury cars in Tenerife in 2005.

New Cosmetic Surgeon for Marbella

Posted On 11:34 0 comments

doctor Jørgen (or Jorn) Ege Siana and he's a plastic surgeon (infamous for his failed penis-enlargement operations !)... Danish papers have covered his cases extensively, but I haven't found any international coverage.

Consider this a warning - this you don't want this guy to redocorate your body...including your private parts !

“Operation Capture”

Posted On 11:28 0 comments

In order to alert the thousands of British expatriates in southern Spain of the possibility that their nextdoor neighbour being a wanted criminal, the UK’s crime-fighting charity, Crimestoppers, has launched “Operation Capture”. The association hopes to gain the collaboration of local residents in its search for suspects in a number of cases ranging from murder and kidnapping, to drugs trafficking and fraud.

During the launch of the campaign on Tuesday, the director of Crimestoppers, Dave Cording, explained that the Costa del Sol has “traditionally” been an area chosen by fugitives and that they believed that “the majority (of the most wanted suspects) are here”. Nevertheless Cording added that the suspects have “most probably changed their identity and their appearance”.

“Operation Capture” has been set up with the collaboration of both the Spanish and British police and a special Spanish freephone number (900555111) has been established to take the calls from residents or holidaymakers in Spain.

Friday, 28 September 2007

armed gangs from Albania, Kosovo and the former Soviet republics

Posted On 20:13 0 comments

armed gangs from Albania, Kosovo and the former Soviet republics. Police in Almeria arrested 13 suspected gangsters accused of laundering £75 million from extortion, drug running and contract killings in buying hotels, property investments and art treasures.

smuggled more than £300 million worth of cocaine into Britain.

Posted On 20:11 0 comments

Michael Walsh, 62, on the run from Britain since March 2000 for drug trafficking, was tracked down to his villa on the Costa del Sol, but only after being spotted with other traffickers. In March police tracked down Brian Wright, who is alleged to have smuggled more than £300 million worth of cocaine into Britain.

Costa Nostra

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Three Britons were arrested in an undercover operation around Marbella, to smash Europe’s biggest cocaine smuggling ring. The operation prompted many in Spain to call for a clean-up of what locals are calling the Costa Nostra

There have been six murders on the Costa in the past two years

Posted On 20:06 0 comments

There have been six murders on the Costa in the past two years. Three of the victims have been British or Irish, and Britons are also suspected of involvement in two other murders. The year before, in one three-month period, eight suspected drug traffickers were murdered. The victims were French, Colombian, Algerian and Spanish. Two were gunned down in restaurants in a throwback to Chicago of the Thirties.

Mickey Green

Posted On 20:04 5 comments

known as the Pimpernel, a multi-millionaire criminal who has been on the run for more than 20 years and is believed to be one of the most senior figures in the British underworld. A successful armed robber during the Seventies when he ran a gang called the 'Wembley Mob', Green, now 60, moved into the drug trade after leaving prison in the early Eighties. He now owns bars and property in Wembley, West Hampstead, Dublin and Marbella. In the past he has had a string of detectives on his payroll and has had close connections with the notorious Adams family, the powerful London gangsters. He was named Europe's most wanted drugs baron and nicknamed 'the octopus' for the tentacles of his ever-expanding network.

But Green has always stayed one step ahead of the law, leaving behind speedboats, yachts, Rolls-Royces, a Porsche, a Ferrari, gold bullion, cash and cocaine in his haste to get away. He has worked out of Morocco, France and the US, where he consorted with the Mafia and flew in and out of Colombia before his arrest in Beverly Hills, where he was living in Rod Stewart's former house. FBI agents arrested Green as he lounged by the pool. He lived up to his nickname by escaping the charges.

seven people were killed in eight days

Posted On 19:58 0 comments

Last year seven people were killed in eight days of street shootings in Madrid as war broke out between local and Colombian drug dealers. (The way the deal normally works with British and Spanish gangsters is they leave each other alone as long as they are only supplying to their own markets.)

Glaswegian Ricky Hayes

Posted On 19:56 0 comments

Glaswegian Ricky Hayes was arrested in nearby Fuengirola after Spanish police seized cannabis resin and cocaine in a major bust. In March, Spanish police seized a Venezuelan fishing boat just off the coast of the Canary Islands. The vessel was carrying 76 bundles of high-quality Colombian cocaine worth around £250 million. Spanish customs officials believe that some of the drugs would have been offloaded at sea onto smaller boats which would in turn have transferred

35 outstanding extradition requests

Posted On 19:56 0 comments

there are 35 outstanding extradition requests, and British detectives estimate there are more than 230 known criminals who would be arrested on sight if they were to set foot again in the UK. Gangland figure Kenneth Noye hid in Spain for three years after stabbing Stephen Cameron to death on a slip road of the M25 in Kent in 1996.

Britain has 230 known criminals sheltering in Spain

Posted On 19:51 0 comments

The Costa del Sol has seen an upsurge in violent crime in recent years with British, Irish and Russian gangs vying with local Spanish criminals for command of the lucrative drugs trade.

Morocco is only 40 miles away across the southern horizon.

The profit margins for smuggling Moroccan cannabis and Colombian cocaine are too tempting for many ex-pats, even when threatened with imprisonment or death.

A Briton was arrested in April this year in nearby Fuengirola after a consignment of cannabis and cocaine was discovered.

And drug dealer Scott Bradfield, from London, was murdered in October 2001.

His limbs were found in a suitcase on wasteland near Torremolinos in December and his head and torso were discovered in another case nearby.


Mr Bradfield was the prime suspect in the murder of James Gaspa, who was shot dead at his home in Islington, north London, in May 2000.

Police were about to issue an extradition warrant for him and it is possible he was killed to prevent him turning supergrass.

But he may have been executed simply because his dealing had encroached on a rival's territory.

The drugs trade and the property boom are luring criminals of all nationalities to the Costa del Sol.

Police said they feared criminals would try to launder money in old European currencies to avoid having to exchange it for euros and in the process declare it.

"The last couple of years those with money have been Russians and Polish, but mainly Russians," Miss Johnson told BBC News Online.

She said the price of property had gone "sky high" in the last year.

Her agency advertises six-bedroom villas for 2.28m euros (£1.45m) and even two-bedroom apartments for 143,000 euros (£91,315).

There have been reports of drugs being smuggled into Puerto Banus on luxury yachts, which are less likely to be searched than dilapidated fishing boats.

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