POLICE investigating how one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives managed to evade capture for four years have arrested four people after a series of early morning raids in Manchester this morning (Tuesday).
Officers from Titan (the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit) assisted by Lancashire Constabulary and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), raided three homes in Radcliffe, Chorlton and Prestwich.
A 27-year-old woman, a 29-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man have been arrested for assisting an offender and money laundering and a 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and making an untrue statement to procure a passport.
They are all accused of helping 31-year-old Andrew Moran evade capture and will be questioned during the course of the day.
Moran, who had been on the run since 2009, was arrested in May after a raid at a luxury villa in the Calpe area of Alicante. Two handguns, 60 rounds of ammunition and a machete were recovered.
Moran was one of seven men targeted as part of a multi-agency initiative to combat organised crime in Salford. He was also on the most-wanted list for Crimestoppers’ Operation Captura campaign, and his arrest means 50 fugitives have now been caught since it was launched.
In May 2005 Moran and his criminal associate, 29-year-old Stephen Devalda, held up a Royal Mail van outside Asda in Colne. A handgun, machete and baseball bat were used during the £25,000 raid in which a security guard was injured.
Moran was later arrested but during his trial at Burnley Crown Court in February 2009 he assaulted four security guards, vaulted over the dock and escaped. He was subsequently convicted in his absence of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Detective Chief Inspector Janet Hudson from TITAN said: “Today’s arrests were made as part of our continued investigation into how Moran was able to evade capture for so many years.
“This should demonstrate our commitment to tracking down not only those who try to evade justice but those who are believed to have helped dangerous offenders to stay on the run.”