Developing

Appeal Over UK's 'Most Wanted' In Netherlands

Police are hunting another nine fugitives wanted in the UK but thought to be on the run in the Netherlands.

The majority of the suspects on the new Most Wanted list are drug dealers, but also include a convicted rapist and an armed robber.

Two are escapees from prison, while one of them has been at large for more than five years.

They are all thought to be hiding in or around the Dutch capital Amsterdam, which is earning a reputation as the new Costa del Crime.

In the past three years, 83 British fugitives - 10 of them wanted for murder - have been arrested in the Netherlands.

British Ambassador Paul Arkwright told Sky News: "We understand why Holland, and Amsterdam in particular, is a place for fugitives to head for because it is close, English is widely spoken and there is a large ex-pat community in which to hide.

"But the Dutch police are getting good at catching these people and sending them back to the UK. They don't want them here."

It is easy to see why British criminals would feel at home in Amsterdam because the city centre is dotted with familiar retailers such as McDonalds, H&M, Body Shop and countless English and Irish-themed pubs.

The licensed sex and cannabis trade provides an underworld for newly-arrived criminals to exploit, although the Dutch government has tried to rid the country of its city-sleaze reputation.

The 70,000 ex-pats registered in the Netherlands are being urged to study the new mugshots and call police or the charity Crimestoppers if they think they recognise any of the fugitives.

Dave Cording, deputy chief executive of Crimestoppers UK, launched the latest appeal in Amsterdam.

He said: "This follows our recent success of Operation Captura in Spain earlier this year , where two of the 10 subjects were arrested within 48 hours of the launch.

"I hope this success will be replicated in the Netherlands.

"Not only is the campaign successful in tracking people wanted for serious offences, but it displaces them as well, but as we can see, no matter where these wanted individuals run to, law enforcement will find them.

"I hope this further reinforces to fugitives that you can run, but can't hide forever."

Since Crimestoppers began its Most Wanted appeals three years ago, it has appealed for information on 60 fugitives - 44 of whom have been tracked down.

Some of those thought originally to be hiding in Spain have been caught in the Netherlands.

Commissaris Liesbeth Huyzer, of the Amsterdam police, said: "It's not easy to find these people because there are facilitators to help them with false documents, transport and places to stay.

"But we are having increasing success in locating them and sending them back to the UK."

:: Details of the latest fugitive hunt can be found on the Crimestoppers website .