Murderers, rapists and sex offenders extradited

Police stand guard at a house on Matlock Road, Walkley, where alleged Eta terrorists were arrested. Monday 30th April 2007

Police stand guard at a house on Matlock Road, Walkley, where alleged Eta terrorists were arrested. Monday 30th April 2007

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Wanted foreign criminals including an alleged murderer, four rapists, two armed robbers, three child sex offenders and eight drugs traffickers have been arrested in South Yorkshire in the last year.

The figures were revealed by the Home Office, which used European arrest warrants to detain the suspects.

In South Yorkshire there were ten warrants used in 2009-10, 23 in 2010-11, 13 in 2011-12, 15 in 2012-13 and 22 in the last 12 months.

Of those arrested in the last five years in South Yorkshire, 47 were returned to Poland and four to Lithuania.

Among them was Bartosz Szpryngwald, who was wanted in Poland for a violent armed robbery, during which the victim was stabbed with a knife.

He had been sentenced to two years and six months’ imprisonment but fled his country.

He was arrested by South Yorkshire Police in November 2013 and extradited the next month.

Also arrested on a European Arrest Warrant were three Spaniards from Matlock Road, Walkley, who were detained in April 2007 on suspicion of being members of the terrorist organisation Eta.

Inigo Maria Albisu Hernandez, then aged 24, Zigor Ruiz Jaso, 29, and Ana Isabel Lopez Monge, 36, were accused of being a ‘reserve cell’ for the Basque separatist group.

A European Arrest Warrant in relation to the trio was issued in April 2007 in connection with an incident on March 28, 2006.

It was alleged the trio took part in a terrorist attack in Spain, during which a bomb damaged Spain’s naval institute in Motrico, Guipuzcoa.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Thanks to the arrest warrants, more than 2,500 people wanted for crimes abroad are no longer roaming the streets of Britain’s major cities and putting the lives of law abiding citizens at risk.

“These include serious international criminals like murderers, paedophiles, human traffickers and terrorists.”

The UK has until December 1 to decide whether or not to opt back in to 35 European Court of Justice crime and policing measures it opted out of last summer.

The matter is due to be debated by politicians in Parliament in the coming weeks.

The European Arrest Warrant is one of the measures included.

If the UK opts back in, it will forfeit the ability to say no to the European Court of Justice to the extradition of its citizens.

But if the UK does not opt back in, previous arrangements that were slower, less reliable and could allow criminals to escape justice would have to be brought back into use.

Mrs May said: “A decision not to rejoin the warrant would significantly diminish our power to remove these people, risking Sheffield and our other big cities becoming safe havens for European criminals.”