05/09/2012 04:48 BST

Most Wanted List: British Criminals On Run In Cyprus

Nine of the UK’s "most wanted" criminals included a suspected child rapist and a drug dealer are thought to be hiding in Cyprus, in details released on Wednesday.

Crimestoppers launched the list which was compiled with the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and Cypriot authorities.

It includes Paul Lockwood, 41, who is sought by Greater Manchester Police for allegedly raping a child; Wayne Smith, who is wanted by West Midlands Police for his role in a horrific road accident that killed a 22-year-old man; and Costas Sampson, 21, accused of raping a woman in Ruislip, Middlesex.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) undated handout photos of (left to right) Wayne Smith, Julie Anne Skelding and Martin John Power, three of nine criminals suspected of offences including rape and drug dealing who are on a 'most wanted' list thought to be hiding in Cyprus.

The list also has details of suspects accused of drug dealing and fraud, including Martin John Power, 46, who is sought by the Metropolitan Police for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders out of an estimated £7m, and Martin Evans, 50, from Swansea, who ran a drug-dealing gang between 1999 and 2001.

Founder of Crimestoppers Lord Ashcroft said: "My hope is that we shall see more success in bringing some of the UK's most wanted fugitives to justice.

"While these suspected criminals will see Cyprus as a safe place to evade law enforcement, my belief is that with the help of the local public and expatriate community, these individuals will not be able to escape justice for much longer."

(From bottom row left to right) Hasan Akarcay, Martin Evans, Paul Lockwood, Timur Mehmet, Costas Sampson and Mehmet Salih, six of nine criminals suspected of offences including rape and drug dealing

The scheme, called Operation Zygos, targets criminals who could be in the Republic of Cyprus or Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus.

Anyone with information is encouraged to come forward regardless of which part of the island the suspect is in.

Deputy director of Soca Martin Molloy said: "Fugitives hiding overseas typically remain part of the criminal world, continuing to bring harm to communities locally and beyond. Soca and our partners are determined to ensure life on the run is intolerable for them, and that they are returned to face justice in the UK."

People with information calling from Cyprus can contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 8000 55 11, or at

Those calling from the UK can use 0800 555111 or

Crimestoppers has run similar schemes including in Spain, where Operation Captura, launched in October 2006, led to 49 out of 65 suspects being arrested.