Fugitive Mark Lilley found in Spanish villa panic room

  • 8 July 2013
  • From the section England

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives has been caught hiding naked in a panic room at his Spanish villa.

Mark Lilley, 41, of Warrington, went on the run in 2000 when he skipped bail during a trial for drug trafficking.

He was sentenced to 23 years in prison in his absence.

He was arrested when Spanish police and officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) raided his home in the Alhurin de la Torre area of Malaga on Saturday.

Image caption Lilley has been on the run since 2000

The operation to capture Lilley saw 40 armed officers climb over a gate at his home, before smashing through his front door with a battering ram.

Lilley was found in a panic room concealed behind a wardrobe in his bedroom.

He was arrested as part of Operation Captura, a Soca initiative which was launched in 2006 with the intention of capturing wanted criminals on the run in Spain.

The operation has seen 50 of the 65 criminals identified by Soca arrested.

Soca spokesman Dave Allen said Lilley was "a dangerous man" who had "evaded capture for a long time by moving around Spain and using false identities".

He added that extradition proceedings to return Lilley to the UK were "under way".

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