Wanted Yorkshire Man Arrested in Philippines

26 January 2015, 13:39 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Officers from West Yorkshire Police have secured the arrest of John Halliday, who has been wanted since 2013.

He was tried and sentenced to ten years in his absence for his role in a multi-million pound drug smuggling operation after absconding before the start of his trial in October 2013.

His extradition will be the first time a British citizen has been brought back to the UK from the country.

It's the result of a joint operation between West Yorkshire Police, the National Crime Agency, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Foreign Office.

Halliday was a lead member of an organised crime group responsible for importing and supplying synthetically produced Class B drugs on a major scale.

He was convicted along with 14 other defendants following the largest investigation conducted by West Yorkshire Police into the importation and supply of synthetic drugs.

His arrest followed a long and complex operation which resulted in a raid on business premises in the Hunslet area of Leeds, in October 2011 and the recovery of 10 kilos of drugs with a street value of £250,000.

When he gets back to Britain, he will be taken immediately to prison to serve his sentence.

Detective Inspector Neil Hollis, of West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Division, said:

"Halliday is a dangerous convicted criminal and we are delighted that he has finally been arrested and is in the custody of the authorities in the Philippines."

"It has taken a lot of hard work but we are now a step closer to bringing him back to the UK to serve his prison sentence.

"It sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they can evade punishment - even if criminals travel thousands of miles away we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice."