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MOROCCO

Brit kidnapper nabbed for Malaga child sex crime

Moroccan police on Tuesday arrested a British man suspected of kidnapping and trying to rape a young girl in the Andalusian town of Vélez-Málaga in 2012.

Brit kidnapper nabbed for Malaga child sex crime
The suspect is wanted by Spanish and Moroccan police in relation to a number of crimes involving children. File photo: Tony Bowden/Flickr

Moroccan police arrested the man near the town of Tetuan after local residents caught him trying to kidnap a six-year-old Spanish daily Diario Sur reported on Thursday.  

Spanish police since have identified this man as Robert Edward Bill.

Bill, a convicted sex crimes offender in the UK, is wanted by Spanish police for the kidnapping of a young girl in southern Spain.

The former teacher and playground designer is suspected of dragging the girl into a car outside the court house of the southern Spanish town of Vélez-Málaga in November 2012.

The girl managed to escape by opening the car door before her captor could drive away.

After the incident, Bill's son and wife called for his capture.

His wife described him as “dangerous” and “evil” and said he should hand himself in, Spain's Olive Press newspaper reported at the time.

She said: “He has no life now and should turn himself in. Neither me or our four sons have any contact with him anymore."

Bill is also suspected of the rape of two young Moroccans in the towns of Tetuan and Chefchaouen, Spanish news agency Efe reported on Wednesday.

Bill spent six years in prison in Wales after a 2008 trial in which he was found guilty of trying to abduct a five-year-old girl.

He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a young girl and possessing 730 indecent images of children.

His name appears on the Uk sex offenders’ register.

North Wales Police informed Spanish authorities Bill was moving to the Malaga area in August 2012.

The UK police force also helped their Spanish counterparts to investigate the attempted abduction in Vélez-Málaga.

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ENVIRONMENT

Top EU court raps Spain over wetlands

The European Union's top court warned Spain on June 24th that it needs to do more to protect Doñana National Park, home to one of Europe's largest wetlands, which is threatened by intensive farming.

Top EU court raps Spain over wetlands
Doñana National Park. Photo: Ángel Sánchez / Pixabay

The massive park in the southern region of Andalusia boasts a diverse ecosystem of lagoons, marshlands, scrub woodland, beaches and sand dunes and is home to fallow deer, wild boars, European badgers and endangered species including the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx.

It is also on the migratory route of millions of birds each year.

Environmentalists have warned that over-extraction of water by neighbouring farms, often through illegal wells, is causing the lagoons and marshlands to dry out.

The area around the park is a major producer of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Green groups also complain that large amounts of water are being diverted to meet the needs of tourists.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice ruled on June 24th that Spain was in breach of EU nature legislation because it “did not take into account the illegal water extractions” in the park and their impact on groundwater.

“It has not taken appropriate measures to avoid disturbances of the protected habitats located in the park which were caused by this catchment” of water, the court added.

The court was responding to a complaint filed by the European Commission in 2019 against Spain for failing to protect the park.

If Madrid does not follow the recommendations of the court it faces hefty fines.

Spain racked up more infringements of EU environmental laws between 2015
and 2018 than any other member state – and nearly three times the average per
member, according to the European Commission.

READ ALSO: Why thousands of trees in Spain’s capital are at risk of dying

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