Lancashire fugitive named as one of UK's most wanted men on the Costa del Crime

A Lancashire man, today named as one of the UK's most wanted fugitives, is believed to be in hiding in Ibiza.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 9:41 am

And a boss of the National Crime Agency warned that Spain and its islands were no longer a "safe haven" for Britons fleeing justice.

John James Jones, 31, of Aughton near Ormskirk, is one of a dozen suspects being targeted by the NCA in an operation focused on the so called Costa del Crime.

Jones is believed to have been in Spain since 2018 after two men were knifed outside a pub in Ormskirk town centre.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

John James Jones is wanted for questioning over a double stabbing in Ormskirk.

Another man from Aughton was arrested at the time and charged with wounding offences.

But Lancashire Police say they still want to speak to Jones about the incident near to the Horseshoe Pub on Southport Road

Two men needed hospital treatment after suffering serious stab wounds at around 2:45am on Saturday April 28 . One of them was a 30-year-old chef who worked at a local bar.

Both men were said to have suffered "numerous" stab wounds. The area outside the pub was cordoned off by police for several hours after the stabbings.

The Horseshoe pub in Ormskirk near to where the stabbings took place.

Smith, of Ennerdale Avenue, Aughton, is believed to have fled the UK immediately after the incident.

Police say they have information to show he stayed in a hotel in Madrid on the Saturday night, but left quickly the following morning. It is thought he could have moved on to Ibiza where officers suspect he has been living.

Smith is said to be about six feet tall, of stocky build, with dark hair. He is known to have links with both Lancashire and Merseyside.

He is one of a dozen men on the Most Wanted list and believed to be living in Spain. They are wanted for crimes including murder, large scale drugs trafficking and supplying firearms and ammunition.

Jones is believed to be in Ibiza.

The NCA’s Most Wanted campaign, run in conjunction with independent charity CrimeStoppers, Spanish law enforcement, UK policing, comes on the back of the extremely successful Operation Captura, which resulted in the arrests of 86 fugitives.

Spain is one of the most popular countries for British ex-pats and the two nations have a very strong law enforcement partnership.

Today, Steve Rodhouse the NCA’s Director General of Operations was joined by the Security Minister Rafael Pérez Ruiz of Spain’s Interior Ministry, British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliot and Mark Hallas, CEO of CrimeStoppers, at the campaign launch in Madrid.

“Spain is not a safe haven," said Steve.

“We have a brilliant relationship with the country’s various law enforcement agencies and work together daily to protect the public.

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

“Our Spanish partners were crucial to many of those arrests, and in 2021 arrested and returned more than 25 wanted UK fugitives.

“The NCA’s International Crime Bureau and International Liaison Officers work on behalf of UK policing to exchange information and intelligence with partners abroad leading to the tracing and arrests of criminals globally.

“Fugitives usually continue offending while on the run and these men will be known in criminal circles wherever they are.

“The last thing the fugitives’ associates will want is the combined determination and capabilities of the UK and Spanish law enforcement focusing on them.

“Many of these fugitives will be trying to blend in to the large British communities who have made their homes in Spain, and if you are resident, you may know one of them from your town or village.

“Loyalties change over time and we urge anyone with information about these men to help us find them.”

All the men featured on the campaign are believed to have links to mainland Spain and the Canary Islands.

Lord Ashcroft, founder of the charity CrimeStoppers UK, said: “We know it can be difficult for people to speak up about crime, which is why our charity is here to give you an option.

“We guarantee you’ll stay completely anonymous, just like the millions of people who have trusted our charity with their crime information since we were formed back in the 1980s.

“Please do the right thing by passing on what you know about these fugitives’ whereabouts and help us ensure these criminals are no longer a danger.”

Hugh Elliott, UK Ambassador to Spain, said: “The Most Wanted campaign is just one example of the successful cooperation that takes place between British and Spanish law enforcement.

“We stand united as partners against common threats and challenges, sharing not only expertise but goals and values too. In doing so, we can make both countries safer for citizens."

Rafael Pérez Ruiz, Minister for Security of the Spanish Ministry of Interior, said: “The campaign allows us to reinforce and strengthen police collaboration between Spain and the United Kingdom with the aim of creating a hostile environment which impedes criminal organisations from setting up in Spain and criminals from settling in our cities.

“Now more than ever it is necessary for everyone to join forces to give a coordinated and effective response to new security challenges.”

Anyone with information about one of the Most Wanted is urged to call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, and callers in Spain should call the freephone Spanish number 900 926 111, which will be answered by CrimeStoppers in the UK (using translation if required).

Alternatively, members of the public can fill out an anonymous online form at the UK charity’s website crimestoppers-uk.org/fugitives.

Anyone living in or visiting Spain is being encouraged to visit the NCA and CrimeStoppers websites and look at the Most Wanted subjects.

Want to see fewer ads? Subscribers to the Lancashire Post get access to the ad-lite version of our website, which features 70% fewer ads and faster load times for a better experience. Find out more