Authorities hunting for 13 of Britain's most wanted criminals thought to be hiding in Spain have arrested one of their targets who is a convicted sex offender.
Michael McCartney, 78, was detained in Alicante today, just hours after the list of suspects accused of attempted murder, drug smuggling and child abuse was disclosed.
McCartney, from Hertfordshire, was convicted of abusing three boys, after grooming them by buying them expensive gifts before committing the abuse.
He was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child and inciting sexual activity involving penetration in March 2013, but failed to attend court the following month for sentencing.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) spokesman said: "Acting on intelligence, officers from the Spanish National Police arrested convicted sex offender Michael McCartney at an address in Alicante at around 4.30pm."
Criminals thinking of fleeing to Spain's Costa Del Crime are being warned that Spain is "not a safe haven." The warning comes as British and Spanish authorities issue a joint list of the UK's most wanted criminals thought to be on the run in Spain. Hank Cole from the NCA said:
Spain is not a safe haven. Fifty three fugitives have been caught since Captura was launched, and many more linked to other operations.
The most important thing though is the power of this campaign to harness the eyes and ears of the public, both here and in Spain.
A list of 13 British criminals wanted in Spain will be unveiled under a joint operation by Crimestoppers, the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) and Spanish police, in the eighth appeal of its kind run under Operation Captura.
The initiative, targeting criminals thought to have fled to Spain, was launched in 2006 and so far has seen 53 out of 63 suspects caught. Founder of Crimestoppers Lord Ashcroft said:
Despite our success so far, there are still a number of dangerous criminals who see Spain as a safe haven to hide from their past. But with the support of the Spanish and UK public, we can hunt them out and bring them to justice.
Authorities in Spain are due to release an "unlucky 13" list of Britain's most wanted criminals thought to be hiding in the country later today.
The list includes the suspected leader of a £90 million cocaine smuggling ring.
Ian Stanton, 42, from Liverpool, is accused of being the ringleader of a gang who smuggled more than 400kg of cocaine to the UK hidden in a shipment of Argentinian beef.
He has links to Merseyside - specifically Crosby, Kirkby and Maghull - but also with London, the Netherlands and Spain.
The drugs were found at Tilbury docks in Essex in May, and the shipment was due to be delivered to a cold storage company in Wigan.