British fugitive appears in court after flying back from Spain


One of Britain's most wanted fugitives has been arrested in the UK after flying back from Spain where four weeks ago his face was displayed in expat communities on a 13ft digital screen.

Anthony Dennis, 47, wanted over allegations of drug trafficking outside the UK and for conspiring to import class A drugs, was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) yesterday in London Colney, Hertfordshire.

The NCA believes he returned to England to avoid being spotted in Spain after his picture, with those of 17 other wanted men, was flashed across a giant billboard that was attached to a van and driven through the expat hotspots of Benidorm, Malaga and Puerto Banus last month.

The campaign is part of Operation Captura, which targets British fugitives believed to be hiding among expat communities in the Spanish Costas and who are wanted for alleged crimes including rape, drug trafficking and murder.

Dennis appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today and was remanded in custody until August 28, the NCA said.

Steve Reynolds, the agency's deputy director, said: "The aim of taking the digital screen to hot-spot areas was to flush the fugitives out. This seems to have been the case with Anthony Dennis.

"Having his face displayed in plain sight meant he had nowhere to hide, forcing him back to the UK to face justice."

Dennis is the 69th offender arrested under Operation Captura, which involves the NCA, Spanish authorities and the charity Crimestoppers.

Lord Ashcroft, the charity's chairman, said advertising the fugitives' faces in plain sight in their own "back yards" was proving incredibly effective.

He said: "It is fantastic that Anthony Dennis has been arrested just four weeks after his face appeared on the screen and I hope this serves as a warning to the remaining fugitives that they cannot escape justice forever."