A CONVICTED drug dealer who has spent the last decade on the run has been tracked down by North Yorkshire Police and arrested in Spain.

Michael John Walsh, 75, was convicted in October 2005 of cultivating and supplying cannabis in the Scarborough area and was sentenced to five years and nine months at Hull Crown Court in April 2006.

In December 2007, Walsh, from Leeds, was released from prison on licence, but after breaching the terms of his release was recalled to prison.

But instead of handing himself in, he decided to become a fugitive and went on the run and so a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Officers carried out extensive investigations over a number of years to eventually track Walsh down.

North Yorkshire Police’s Force Intelligence Bureau, along with Spanish Guarda Civil officers, eventually located him in Malaga and applied for a European Arrest Warrant, so he could be detained anywhere in Europe.

They worked closely with Interpol and authorities in both Spain and UK to bring him to justice.

Walsh was now appeared before a court in Madrid and spent Christmas in custody in a Spanish jail.

He is due to be extradited to the United Kingdom on Thursday of next week and is then expected to appear before magistrates in York the following morning.

North Yorkshire Police’s intelligence management officer Paul Somerville said in a statement: “As this case shows, some criminals think that because they can’t see us, we can’t see them.

“But in this day and age, very few offenders are genuinely untraceable – everyone leaves footprints."

He added: “Sometimes gathering information about people who abscond, especially overseas, can take time, patience and commitment.

“But by working closely with British and Spanish authorities, we’ve been able to arrest a convicted drug dealer who has gone to great lengths to evade justice.”