Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

Runaway counterfeiter behind bars

Ronald Priestley
Ronald Priestley was sentenced to eight years in jail in January 2006

A prolific counterfeiter who went on the run for almost four years has been jailed after being returned to the UK.

Ronald Priestley fled Britain after failing to answer bail at Leeds Crown Court on charges of manufacturing false banknotes with a face value of £4.25m.

In 2006 he was convicted in his absence and sentenced to eight years in jail. He was found in Malaga last month.

A judge at Leeds Crown Court sentenced Priestley to an additional 32 weeks in prison for failing to appear at court.

The sentenced will run consecutively with Priestley's original eight-year jail term.

At his original trial, which began in 2005, a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict against Leeds-born Priestley, who had denied a charge of conspiracy to produce counterfeit bank notes before his disappearance.

The operation involved cloning more than £4m in £20 notes.

Priestley, 69, was arrested in Malaga after an international arrest warrant was issued following an appeal by the Crimestoppers charity.

His arrest was made as part of Operation Captura, a joint campaign between police and Crimestoppers to find people on the run who are wanted for crime in the UK.



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