UK & World News

  • 11 April 2014, 13:04

New Hunt For UK's 'Most Wanted' In Cyprus

Police have released a list of some of the UK's most wanted fugitives, who are believed to be living in Cyprus.

Among them are criminals who have been convicted of rape, drug dealing, voyeurism, fraud and tax evasion.

One of them, Costas Sampson, was convicted of raping a girl whose drink had been spiked.

He and a friend had offered to take the girl home after Sampson persuaded her friend he was a medic.

He later raped the girl at her flat while she was incapacitated.

Others are suspected of having committed a range of crimes including running a fraudulent betting syndicate, mortgage fraud, drug supply, holiday fraud and insider trading.

In all, police hope to bring 11 criminals or suspects to justice by harnessing the eyes and ears of holidaymakers and ex-pats living on the island.

The appeal, called Operation Zygos, has been issued by the National Crime Agency and Crimestoppers.

It is the second time the operation has been run, with four suspects wanted for crimes including child sex offences and a hit-and-run being captured after the first appeal in 2012.

Lord Ashcroft, founder and chairman of Crimestoppers, said: "Following the last Operation Zygos appeal in Cyprus in 2012, a third of the featured suspects were arrested in just three weeks following the launch.

"The results speak for themselves."

Some of those on the list this time were also on the list of wanted individuals in 2012.

The new names being sought are Jeffrey Bloor, Richard Ardolino, Osman Aydeniz, Ozgur Demir, Ersin Mustafa, and Christakis Philippou.

Those who are still being sought after the appeal in 2012 are Hasan Akarcay, Timur Mehmet, Costas Sampson, Mehmet Salih, and Martin Evans.

Evans has been on the run for two years after being convicted of leading an organised crime group supplying cocaine, MDMA and ecstasy.

He is also wanted for stealing several hundred thousand pounds invested by members of the public in a company he set up.

Among those caught after the appeal in 2012 were Wayne Smith and Julie Skelding who were wanted for causing death by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice. 

Smith was tracked down by Sky News' Martin Brunt before he returned to the UK but was later jailed for seven years and 10 months.

His partner Julie Anne Skelding, 40, who gave him a false alibi, was sentenced to one year and 10 months.

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