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One of Britain’s ‘most wanted’ Simon Dutton arrested in Greece for alleged involvement in a cocaine crime gang

The Independent logo The Independent 30/12/2015 Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Simon Dutton, 39, right, is escorted by police officers as he leaves a courthouse at the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki (Picture: [copyright]) © Provided by The Independent Simon Dutton, 39, right, is escorted by police officers as he leaves a courthouse at the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki (Picture: [copyright])

One of Britain’s most wanted criminals who is alleged to be a “main player” in a major cocaine smuggling operation has been arrested in Greece

Suspected drug dealer Simon Dutton, 38, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, was arrested in Thessaloniki on Sunday following a joint operation between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Hellenic police.

Dutton, who has been on the run for more than six years, is wanted for allegedly being part of a crime gang who tried to smuggle cocaine worth £1.6 million into the UK.

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The drugs were seized as part of a raid on a “cocaine factory” in Stockport in 2009, and Dutton has been described as a “major player” in the gang, which is based in the north west of England.

A European arrest warrant has been out for Dutton since the raid and pending extradition proceedings he now faces charges of drug importation, drug supply and money laundering when he is brought back to the UK.

Dave Allen, head of the International Crime Bureau at the NCA, said: "Dutton was on the NCA's Operation Captura wanted list and his arrest means that 74 out of 86 fugitives have now been caught.

"We believe him to be a main player in a criminal organisation involved in the importation and distribution of large amounts of cocaine, so this is a significant arrest.

"Criminals on the run should know that we do not give up. However long it takes, we are looking for you and we have the ability to track you down.

"The NCA is grateful for the support we have received in this investigation from the Hellenic Police, and from Cheshire and Greater Manchester police forces here in the UK."

Additional reporting by PA

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