Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 16:46 UK

'Most wanted' fugitive arrested

Noel Cunningham was arrested in Amsterdam
Noel Cunningham was arrested in Amsterdam on Tuesday

One of Britain's most wanted men has been arrested by police in the Netherlands, Scotland Yard has said.

Noel Cunningham, 47, escaped from a Securicor vehicle when it was ambushed by two gunmen outside Inner London Crown Court in 2003.

He had been due to appear in court on charges of conspiring to steal £1.25m from a security van in south London.

He was held in Amsterdam on Tuesday by Dutch police acting on information from the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Cunningham was sprung from custody along with Clifford Hobbs on 10 June, 2003.

The driver of the van was shot in the leg and a guard beaten about the head during the escape.

'Inside job'

Hobbs stayed with friends in south London before fleeing on a fake passport to Spain.

He was arrested and extradited to the UK in 2007 and was jailed for life in February last year after he admitted organising an "inside job" on the security van in March 2003.

Clifford Hobbs arrived back in Britian after being extradited
Clifford Hobbs fled to Spain after being sprung in 2003

Officers, who had been tipped off about the raid, moved in as the van made a pick-up from a cafe in Effra Road in Brixton, south London.

Hobbs and Mr Cunningham had been arrested at the scene in a stolen BMW and sent to Brixton Prison to await trial.

Hobbs, from Rotherhithe, south-east London, also admitted escaping from lawful custody and a jury at Woolwich Crown Court found him guilty of having a firearm with intent to escape from custody.

Soon after he went on the run Mr Cunningham's mother urged her son to give himself up.

Margaret Cunningham said: "He must give himself up. It's no good being on the run from the police."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Extensive work to trace him by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Serious Organised Crime Agency 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 11 September where extradition proceedings will be instigated following his first appearance."



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