ONE of Britain’s most wanted criminals has been captured during a police raid on his villa in Spain.
Andrew Moran, 31, was arrested in the Costa Blanca resort of Calpe in Alicante on Friday, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said.
The convicted armed robber was caught while sunbathing with his girlfriend beside the pool.
Moran, from Salford, Greater Manchester, has been on the run for more than four years.
He fled the country in 2009 after he vaulted the dock in a Burnley courtroom as he went on trial over a £25,000 armed robbery of Royal Mail guards.
He was convicted in his absence for the theft in 2005.
Soca said in November that Moran was tracked down to the Murcia area of Spain, but he managed to escape from local officers by ramming two police vehicles in his 4x4 and driving off at speed the wrong way down a motorway.
During a search of the house he was living in, a handgun, ammunition, 5kg of cannabis and a vacuum packing machine were recovered.
Elite officers finally arrested him on Friday after storming the home where he was living and chasing him into bushes by the pool.
He was caught and handcuffed on the ground in a pair of red shorts after a botched attempt to escape.
Fugitive Moran, named in a Crimestoppers top ten “most wanted” list in October 2011, was part of a gang which held up a Royal Mail vehicle outside an Asda supermarket in Colne, Lancashire.
Security guard James Hankinson had a gun held to his back and a machete was wielded during the raid.
Soca’s north-west regional organised crime unit, also known as Titan, worked alongside the Spanish National Police on the raid.
They recovered two handguns, 60 rounds of ammunition and a machete at the property.
Detective Chief Inspector Janet Hudson, from Titan, said: “My officers have worked tirelessly alongside Soca colleagues and the Spanish authorities to track down this dangerous man.
“It just goes to show that we will stop at nothing to capture criminals wherever they are in the world. No matter how hard they try to evade justice, they will not succeed.”
Video footage released by police yesterday showed them surrounding Moran’s home before chasing him into bushes around his pool.
Moran was the last man from his gang to be captured after the audacious robbery.
The arrest of his co-accused, Stephen Devalda, 29, at a hotel in Marbella, Spain, in 2011, left Moran the final man on a police hit-list of the Salford-based armed robbers.
Pictures released by Soca show how the criminal changed his appearance by growing a moustache and his hair, as well as wearing glasses.
In one photograph Moran is posing with a rifle, while in another he is brandishing two automatic weapons.