Costa del Crime: Joint campaign targets 12 of UK’s ‘most wanted’ in Spain

British and Spanish police joined forces on Wednesday in the hunt for 12 of the UK's "most wanted fugitives" who are believed to be hiding in Spain. Do you recognise any of them?

uk criminals hiding in spain
Many of the offenders may be trying to blend into the large British communities in Spain and you may recognise one of them from your own town or village," wrote the British Embassy in Spain. Handout: UK National Crime Agency

Launching a joint appeal in Madrid, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Spanish police released images of 12 men who are wanted for a string of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, serious assaults and other offences.

“Spain is not a safe haven,” said Steve Rodhouse, head of operations for the NCA, noting in a statement the “brilliant relationship” with the Spanish police whom he said had arrested and returned more than 25 wanted Britons in 2021.

The list includes Nana Oppong, a suspect in his early 40s who has links to Marbella and is wanted for the drive-by killing of a 50-year-old man in June 2020.

Another is Callum Halpin, in his late 20s, who is wanted for a murder and a second attempted murder in Manchester and believed to have ties to Alicante and Malaga.

uk criminals in spain

uk criminals in spain

“Many of the offenders may be trying to blend into the large British communities in Spain and you may recognise one of them from your own town or village,” wrote the British Embassy in Spain in a Facebook post.

You can find full details of all the fugitives at

A previous joint campaign — Operation Captura, which was launched in 2006 and ran for well over a decade – successfully netted scores of offenders, he said.

“With 86 offenders arrested in our last fugitives campaign, criminals know we will never give up and we’re never far behind them.”

In a separate statement, Rafael Pérez Ruiz, a top security official at Spain’s interior ministry, said the initiative would “increase police collaboration between Spain and the UK with the aim of creating a hostile environment that would discourage criminals or criminal groups from setting up in Spain and taking residence here”.

“Operation Most Wanted” is a joint initiative run by the NCA and British charity CrimeStoppers, both of whom have released images and details of the fugitives on their respective websites.

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Spanish police arrest one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives

Spanish police said Wednesday they had arrested one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, sought for his suspected role in the murder of a teenager.

Spanish police arrest one of Britain's most wanted fugitives

British police believe David Ungi, 30, was involved in the fatal shooting in 2015 in Liverpool of 18-year-old Vinny Waddington while he was riding a motorcycle.

Ungi, who is also wanted in connection with heroin trafficking, left Britain less than 24 hours after Waddington was killed, according to British authorities.

Two other men were convicted in 2016 of the 18-year-old’s murder.

Spanish police said in a statement Ungi was arrested along with three other British men in the town of Coin near the southern resort of Marbella on May 5 as they entered a gym at a shopping centre.

Officers seized a firearm from a rucksack being carried by one of the men, Spain’s National Police said in a statement.

A police search of Ungi’s residence in Coin turned up a machinegun and two other guns as well as “abundant ammunition”, 15 kilos (33 pounds) of cocaine and 19 kilos of hashish, the statement added.

Spanish police said the operation was carried out in cooperation with Britain’s National Crime Agency, which had put Ungi on its most wanted list.

The Spanish coast has long a popular bolthole for British criminals fleeing the law because they can blend easily into thriving expatriate communities.