- Andrew Moran, 31, tracked down by police four years after he escaped from dock at criminal trial in Lancashire
- Video footage shows him leap into bushes by pool to try to escape
- Part of gang who used gun and machete to steal £25,000 from Royal Mail van
- Has been on top 10 most wanted list for 18 months since escaping court
- Two guns, cartridges and mobile phones seized from home near Alicante
One of Britain’s most wanted criminals has been captured as he sunbathed by a pool at his luxury Spanish villa. Armed robber Andrew Moran was sipping a cocktail alongside his girlfriend Genna Harvieu when armed police raided his hideout. The 31-year-old attempted to escape but was rugby tackled to the ground. At one point he was hurled over a wall before being subdued.
Video footage released yesterday shows police surrounding Moran’s home in the resort of Calpe near Alicante before chasing him into bushes after he spotted one of the officers and tried to escape. Moran was part of an armed gang which stole £25,000 from a Royal Mail security van outside an Asda supermarket in Lancashire in May 2005.
He has been on the run since vaulting over the dock during his trial at Burnley Crown Court in February 2009. He was convicted in his absence, and he was later placed on Crimestoppers’ top-ten most wanted list. Since fleeing to Spain, Moran moved around frequently and assumed false identities in a bid to evade capture. He regularly changed his appearance, growing a moustache and his hair, and sometimes wore spectacles.
Last year he narrowly avoided being caught by ramming two police cars with his 4×4 and hurtling down a motorway the wrong way. A search of the house he was living in at the time uncovered a handgun, ammunition and 5kg of cannabis. He charted his life on the run with photos of himself in various locations and poses. One picture showed him in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and he posed for another with two Uzi machine guns. Investigators believe that he financed his life as a fugitive by becoming involved in drug dealing.
Last night a source close to the investigation said: ‘Moran was regarded as a very dangerous man – as his access at different times to different firearms clearly demonstrates. ‘He was taken by surprise because he was lounging around the pool with his girlfriend, obviously thinking all was well. I hope he enjoyed his cocktail because it should be the last one he will be having for quite a while.’ Two pistols, 60 rounds of ammunition and a machete were found in his rented villa.
His arrest was carried out by Spain’s elite anti-terrorism police on Friday.
After his capture he was taken to Madrid for an extradition hearing at Spain’s Central Criminal Court that is expected to take place today. Moran, from Salford, Greater Manchester, is the 50th British criminal to have been located since Crimestoppers launched Operation Captura – the hunt to find UK crooks hiding abroad. Two years ago investigators found his co-accused, Stephen Devalda, 29, at a hotel in Marbella, Spain.
And with the capture of Moran, all seven men who took part in the armed robbery have now been detained. During the robbery in Colne, Lancashire, security guard James Hankinson had a gun held to his back and a machete was wielded as £25,000 was stolen. After Moran was placed on the most wanted listed, Detective Inspector Simon Cheyte said: ‘This is a very serious offence and we are determined to get Moran back to serve the time for his crime.’
Yesterday Matt Burton, head of investigations at the Serious Organised Crime Agency, said: ‘Moran thought he could evade capture by fleeing to Spain, frequently changing his appearance and using false identities. ‘Like his partner in crime, Devalda, and the other armed robbers on the hit-list discovered, though, there’s no hiding place. Soca and its partners have the capability to pursue criminals relentlessly and put them behind bars.’ Detective Chief Inspector Janet Hudson added: ‘It just goes to show that we will stop at nothing to capture criminals wherever they are in the world.’ – Dailymail