UK fugitives: 'Most wanted' men in Cyprus revealed

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(Clockwise top left to bottom right) Jeffrey Bloor, Richard Ardolino, Osman Aydeniz, Christakis Philippou, Ersin Mustafa, Ozgur Demir.Image source, Crimestoppers
Image caption,
Police want to speak to (clockwise from top left): Jeffrey Bloor, Richard Ardolino, Osman Aydeniz, Christakis Philippou, Ersin Mustafa and Ozgur Demir

A new search has been launched to find some of the UK's most-wanted fugitives thought to be hiding in Cyprus.

The National Crime Agency and Crimestoppers list includes 11 men wanted for crimes including rape, fraud and drug smuggling.

It is thought they are evading justice by living in Cyprus as there is a large British community on the island.

Five are still being sought as part of an operation launched in 2012, along with six new suspected criminals.

After the earlier 2012 campaign - known as Operation Zygos - four of the nine people sought were arrested. The NCA and Crimestoppers are hoping the second appeal will have the same success.

The crimes they are wanted for include the defrauding of 20,000 customers in a travel agency scam, as well as an alleged horse racing betting and blood stocks fraud.

The suspects on the list are:

Image source, Crimestoppers
Image caption,
Also being sought are (clockwise from top left): Timur Mehmet, Costas Sampson, Hasan Akarcay and Mehmet Salih
  • Jeffrey Bloor, 41, from Brighton, who is wanted by Sussex Police, is accused of being involved in a horse racing betting and bloodstocks scam worth millions of pounds
  • Richard Ardolino, 38, from Leeds, is wanted by West Midlands Police on suspicion of being part of a gang that fraudulently applied for mortgages to buy houses in the UK
  • Cypriot Osman Aydeniz, 35, who was last known to be living in London, is wanted by the NCA on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, conspiracy to commit theft and money laundering
  • Turk Ozgur Demir, 39, who was last known to be living in London, is also wanted as part of the same drugs conspiracy as Aydeniz
  • Ersin Mustafa, 38, from London, is wanted by City of London Police and the Financial Conduct Authority over allegations of insider dealing, worth around £2.5m
  • Christakis Philippou, 70, also known as Christakis Chrysostomou, is wanted by the Met Police after he was convicted of being involved in scams in which travel agency businesses were used to defraud 20,000 people
Image source, Crimestoppers
Image caption,
Martin Evans supplied class A drugs, the NCA says
  • Martin Evans, 52, from Swansea, is wanted for drug dealing, theft and fraudulent trading
  • Timur Mehmet, 40, who was born in London, is wanted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs after being convicted in his absence and jailed for eight years for a £25m tax fraud
  • Hasan Akarcay, 57, is a Turkish Cypriot wanted by West Yorkshire Police after an associate of his was found transporting 27.5lb (12.5kg) of diamorphine, a drug similar to heroin, from London to Bradford
  • Costas Sampson, 23, is a Greek Cypriot wanted by the Met Police after being convicted in 2012 of the rape of a woman he met at a London nightclub two years earlier
  • Mehmet Salih, 42, a Turkish Cypriot, is wanted by Leicestershire Police on suspicion of dealing in cocaine between December 2010 and November 2011

All 11 men have European arrest warrants issued against them.

'Harm and damage'

Steve Bennett, the NCA's head of European operations, said: "Fugitives don't just give up their criminal behaviour, they typically remain part of the criminal world, creating harm and causing damage, sometimes to the new communities they live in.

"We are determined to ensure life on the run is intolerable for them and that they are brought back to face justice."

Crimestoppers chairman Lord Ashcroft said after the last Operation Zygos appeal in Cyprus in 2012, a third of the featured suspects were arrested within three weeks of the launch.

"Operation Zygos aims to ensure members of the public in Cyprus are alert to the possible presence on the island of the 11 wanted individuals," he said.

Anyone with information on the fugitives is asked to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if in the UK, or 8000 55 11 if in Cyprus.