British criminals hiding out in Amsterdam
Several of the UK’s most dangerous criminals are believed to be hiding out in the Netherlands and carrying out the crimes they are wanted for in their own country.
Operation Return, a multi-agency campaign involving Dutch crime watchdog Bel M, Dutch law enforcement, Crimestoppers and the UK’s National Crime Agency (formerly the Serious Organized Crime Agency), said that eight hardened British criminals have been located in and around Amsterdam. They are wanted for crimes relating to drug smuggling, rape and “unlawful wounding”.
In total there are 17 UK criminals who are believed to have fled to the Netherlands. The international crime-fighting effort is supposed to aid UK law enforcement in tracking them down and returning them to the UK.
Hank Cole, who leads the National Crime Agency’s International Operations Desk said the men are apparently continuing their criminal operations from the Netherlands. “They are arranging transports of cocaine to the UK,” he said.
Lord Ashcroft, Founder and Chair of Crimestoppers, said that “this is the third campaign to be launched in the Netherlands and follows the recent success of Operation Captura in Spain and Operation Zygos in Cyprus where to date 61 out of 85 fugitives have now been arrested.” Ashford said that these campaigns give a clear message to British fugitives that escaping abroad does not mean they can escape justice for their crimes. He urged the public to look at the Most Wanted gallery to see if they recognize any of the individuals listed.
British ambassador Geoffrey Adams lauded the Dutch/British cooperation this morning, saying that “The Netherlands should be safe and not a safe haven for British criminals.
Dutch Commissioner of police Marjolein Smit-Arnold Bik warned that even though the wanted men are not the UK’s major crime figures, they are not small fries. “These men are involved in networks that do business together; they are not the leaders of criminal organizations, but they are definitely not small time crooks. That is also why they are on the list of wanted men,” Smit-Arnold Bik.