One of Great Britain's "most wanted" criminals arrested in the Netherlands

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One of the criminals listed as "most wanted" by the United Kingdom's Scotland Yard, has been arrested in the Netherlands after escaping six years ago.

A map of the Netherlands. The capital is highlighted by the black dot within the red dot.

Noel Cunningham, 47, was being taken to Inner London Crown Court in June 2003 and was going to be tried in there for a planned £1,250,000 robbery of a security van in Brixton, South London, England. However, just outside the court, two armed men ambushed the Securior police vehicle and shot the prison van driver in the leg before pistol-whipping a guard. Cunningham and two accomplices managed to break out of the police van and escape. Noel subsequently became one of 40 of Scotland Yard's most wanted criminals in the United Kingdom. He was facing charges of conspiracy to armed robbery, possession of a firearm and escaping lawful custody.

He was finally arrested in the Amstelveen area of Amsterdam in the Netherlands at 2000 hours on Tuesday and held by police forces there. He had been living under an assumed name. His arrest makes him the twenty-third criminal arrested out of the full forty. He is expected to return to the United Kingdom within the next few days.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman has said: "Noel Francis Cunningham, 47, was arrested by Dutch police at about 8pm last night. Mr Cunningham was unlawfully at large and a European Arrest Warrant had been circulated for his arrest after he escaped from a prison van on June 10, 2003. The van had left HMP Brixton to travel to the Inner London Crown Court, Avonmouth Street, SE1.

"Extensive work to trace him by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) led to the false identity he was using being uncovered and his arrest last night in the Amstelveen suburb of Amsterdam. He will be appearing in custody in Holland on September 11 where extradition proceedings will be instigated following his first appearance."