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News from the Canary Islands News2 from the Canary Islands

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Fugitive rapist captured in Tenerife

News from the Canary Islands

A convicted rapist who was one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives was arrested yesterday afternoon in Tenerife.

Bangladeshi national Mohammed Alam, aged 33, fled the UK before he was convicted in March 2010 and sentenced to 14 years in his absence for raping a woman in Cheltenham.

Alam, who featured in the Operation Captura fugitive campaign run by the National Crime Agency and Crimestoppers, was apprehended by officers from the Spanish National Police at a restaurant where he was working in Playa de las Americas.

Extradition proceedings will begin tomorrow when he appears at the Spanish National Court in Madrid.

Alam was added to the Captura list in 2015 after Gloucestershire Police asked the NCA for assistance to locate him believing he had fled to Spain. His arrest means 78 out of 96 fugitives publicised have now been caught.

This is the second Captura arrest within a few days as Matthew Sammon was located in Fuengirola on Thursday the same day his details were released to the public.

Steve Reynolds, Head of International Operations for the NCA, said: “Locating and arresting Alam after he had been on the run for six years is a fantastic result. This was a team effort to get justice for his victim and he will now be returned to the UK to serve a 14-year jail term.”

Detective Sergeant Paul Howell, of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Public Protection Bureau, said: “Capturing Alam is a brilliant result and a great example of partnership working between the National Crime Agency, Gloucestershire Constabulary and the Spanish authorities.

“He had been on the run for six years before being found in Tenerife. We hope this result shows criminals that they will be convicted, even if they try to get away and escape under the radar.”

Lord Ashcroft KCMG, Founder and Chairman of Crimestoppers, said “To have secured a second arrest in the space of a few days, following last week’s appeal and arrest of Matthew Sammon, is a tremendous result.

“I thank our partners, the National Crime Agency and Spanish Police, for their efforts, and would remind anyone that has information on the remaining 18 wanted individuals that Crimestoppers is an anonymous service for you to tell us where they are. So do the right thing, and let’s ensure we achieve more positive results.”

​Astronauts to train in the Canary Islands

News from the Canary Islands

Those who know and love the Canary Islands are well aware of the rich and varied landscape offered by all the islands. It now seems that the islands’ unique landscape has something to offer space research too.

Phase Two of the European Space Agency’s training has begun, and this time it is in the Canary Islands.

European Space Agency astronauts, Luca Parmitano and Pedro Duque, together with Matthias Maurer from Eurocom, will take part in a rigorous set of tasks that take advantage of the islands’ ability to simulate the geography and climate of Mars.

The project’s aim is to provide the astronauts with the skills that they will need to identify useful geological samples on the Moon, and on Mars.

The first phase of the training took place in Bressanone, Italy, earlier this summer. This time, the trio will be studying satellite imagery of the region, and will then visit the most promising sites to gather samples.

Their work in the Canary Islands is an important part of the training to prepare the astronauts to explore other planets, as well as preparing them to work with engineers and scientists when discussing features, logistics, science, challenges and safety.

The astronauts also will go inside a volcanic lava tube, because lava tubes have already been identified on both the Moon and Mars. Similar to the underground cave structures on Earth, lava tubes are a good place to search for water, and signs of life. The more comfortable that the astronauts become in these settings, the more they will learn about the Earth’s own geology, and the more experienced they will be when the time comes to study Mars.

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Celebrating 20 Years of Garbo’s in Gran Canaria

Garbo's Dinner Show

Garbo’s Dinner Show in Bahia Feliz in Gran Canaria are this year celebrating 20 years of entertaining tourists and local residents to the best evening’s entertainment on the island. The friendly welcome from the efficient waiters leads to serving the evening meal, and then becoming the outstanding singers and dancers that provide the unforgettable entertainment. Packed audiences show that one visit is never enough, and tourists have returned year after year for a very special and different evening.

This year, Garbo’s presents ‘Celebration’ that showcases music from rock and roll, 80’s music and disco, as well as the music of Michael Jackson, Queen, Abba and more legends. Live entertainment from very talented waiters with sequins and sparkle that makes the highlight of a holiday or an escape from the pressures of daily life. Live music and spectacular costumes continue to make Garbo’s a must visit venue, but dinner shows also include aerial silk performances that give dramatic and spectacular entertainment with the performer giving aerial acrobatics while hanging from fabric.

The great success of Garbo’s over the last 20 years looks set for another 20 years, and you can book tickets with your hotel or check out the website

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Home Rental Costs Increased by 1% in the Canary Islands in September

News from the Canary Islands

According to the latest Consumer Price Index published by the National Statistics Institute, there was a price increase of 1% in home property rentals in the Canary Islands in September.

In Peninsular Spain, prices remained stable, with no variation when compared to the same month in 2015.

The costs of renting properties continues to be stable overall, with negligible changes over the last three months.

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​Canary Islands Attract International TV Series Producers in Cannes

News from the Canary Islands

A tax rebate for foreign production companies choosing the Canary Islands as filming locations is attracting international TV producers at the MIPCOM trade show in Cannes, which ran from 17 to 20 October.

The Gran Canaria Film Commission and the Tenerife Film Commission recently participated in television’s largest international trade fair for the first time at the 32nd edition of the event.

There are many advantages to choosing the Canary Islands for movie locations, which include the islands’ climate, the quality and long hours of the natural light, the diversity of the landscape found within close proximity, and the businesses in the islands that support the film industry.

A 35% tax rebate, which was introduced in January 2015, has so far only received limited attention, but several new TV contracts are about to be signed, according to industry sources.

Movies recently filmed in the Canary Islands include ‘Allied’, ‘Fast & Furious 6’ and ‘Jason Bourne’.

In order to benefit from the tax rebate scheme, foreign production companies are expected to pay a local producer at least one million euros, of which 35% will be refunded.

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​Self-installing Offshore Wind Turbine to be tested off Gran Canaria

News from the Canary Islands

Spanish researchers who are part-funded by the European Union have developed a self-installing offshore wind turbine that can be pre-assembled and pre-commissioned onshore and then towed into position.

The ‘Elisa’ turbine was developed by a consortium led by Esteyco Energia, which plans to install a prototype of the foundation and tower off the island of Gran Canaria.

The construction of the foundation was carried out in a dry dock at Arinaga. As soon as it is completed, the unit will be transported to its final location at the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), where it will be installed and become operational in 2017.

The research and development of the project is jointly funded by the European Union and the consortium. The prototype is designed to accept a 5 megawatt offshore wind turbine, which is the first bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine installed without the need for heavy-lift vessels.

Each unit of the ‘Elisa’ turbine is pre-assembled onshore, with the entire structure towed by tugs to its open-water site; the platform is then secured to the seabed and the tower raised.

This method of installation, which is vessel-free reduces costs, as well as allowing larger offshore wind turbines to be constructed, which is an important part of reducing the cost of offshore wind energy.

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​The hunt is on for more of Britain’s most wanted fugitives

News from the Canary Islands

Ten more of the most wanted British fugitives believed to be hiding in Spain’s ex-pat communities have been revealed in a new appeal by independent UK crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Publication of the latest list coincides with the 10th anniversary of Operation Captura –a multi-agency campaign which has seen 76 fugitives apprehended out of 86 publicised.

The ten fugitives are wanted by law enforcement agencies in connection with crimes including murder, child sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, fraud, money laundering and serious assault.

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, the Founder and Chair of Crimestoppers, said: “As we mark the tenth anniversary of Operation Captura, it is safe to say it has been an extremely effective way of tracking down some of the most wanted individuals who are deliberately running from justice.

“These people have managed to evade arrest and avoid justice. We know that with the help of Spanish authorities, along with the public in Spain and the UK, we can find these people.”

Steve Reynolds, Head of International Operations for the NCA, said: “The success of Captura demonstrates our relentless pursuit of fugitives. We never give up. Many of them use Spain as a base to continue illegal activities which still have an impact on the UK, but it is not a safe haven.

“Seventy-six fugitives on the Captura list have been caught to date, along with many more fugitives linked to other operations. The exceptional level of collaboration and intelligence sharing we have with the Spanish authorities has been vital to these arrests.

“The fugitives we are hunting are wanted for serious crimes and must be returned to the UK to face justice. We need the support of the public to help us catch them. Be our eyes and ears and tell us if you have any information on the whereabouts of our targets.”

Crimestoppers and the NCA liaise closely with the British Embassy in Madrid and with both British and Spanish law enforcement agencies.

Simon Manley, British Ambassador to Spain, said: “Captura is one of the best examples of the fantastic collaboration between Spanish and British law enforcement. Our objective is for this collaboration to continue and strengthen in the coming years. I would like to congratulate all those that have worked over the last 10 years to bring fugitives to justice.”

Information received by Crimestoppers will help to locate the fugitives on the Operation Captura list. For people in Spain wishing to pass on information anonymously there is a dedicated freephone Spanish telephone number - 900 555 111 - which is directed to the Crimestopers’ call centre in the UK. A translation service is available on request.

People in the UK can continue to contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling the number 0800 555 111 or online at


Shane O’Brien, aged 28, from London: Wanted by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of murder. In October 2015 O’Brien was in a wine bar in Middlesex with several friends. It is alleged that O’Brien approached a man called Josh Hanson who was with his girlfriend at the bar, removed an item from his coat pocket and plunged it into the his neck. Josh was pronounced dead at the scene. A £20,000 reward is available for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of O’Brien. He is described as 183cm tall, slim build, grey eyes and short dark brown hair. Also has a birthmark on his face, and a tattoo on his back ‘Shannon 15-04-06’. O’Brien also has links to Dubai.

Jamie Acourt, aged 40, from South London: Wanted by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cannabis resin between 1 January 2014 and 1February 2016. Acourt is believed to be a principal member of an organised crime group involved in the large-scale supply of cannabis. He is described as 173cm tall, athletic build, pale complexion, dark brown hair, brown eyes, and sometimes wears glasses.

Important note for the media – no additional information can be published about the alleged offence, the wider case, and others involved in the conspiracy as the following reporting restriction was put in place at Kingston Crown Court: Any report of the proceedings which names, or would lead to the identification of, Jamie Acourt.

In addition, at the request of the Metropolitan Police, please use this more recent picture of Jamie Acourt as opposed to older ones when he was looking a lot younger.

Jonathon Kelly, aged 36, from Glasgow: Wanted by Police Scotland on recall to prison to serve remaining sentence of 9 years 10 months for a number of serious assaults. Kelly, who is extremely violent and poses a high risk to both police and members of the public, was convicted at various courts of a number of offences between 2002 and 2010. He received sentences in excess of 16 years, and in September 2013 he was released on licence but failed to adhere to conditions set. The offences he was convicted of included an assault to severe injury and danger of life, robbery, assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, breach of the peace and having a sharply pointed implement in prison. In one of the most serious assaults Kelly stabbed and paralysed his victim using a machete. He was also subject of a sexual offences prevention order. He is described as 180cm tall, heavy build, blue/grey eyes, short brown hair, Scottish accent, and occasionally has a beard. Also has scars to the left and right side of the face, on his arms and his right hand.

Stephen Carruthers, aged 43, from Bury: Wanted by Cumbria Police on suspicion of 18 offences of making indecent photographs of a child. Carruthers was arrested when police officers executed a search warrant on 27 March 2014 at an address in Ambleside where he was living at the time. A computer recovered was analysed and found to contain 5,332 indecent images of children. The most serious of the images showed contact sexual abuse between adults and children. He was interviewed and denied committing any offences. He was given bail to re-attend the police station but failed to answer his bail. He is described as 172cm tall, medium build, short brown hair or shaved head and has blue eyes.

Sarah Panitzke, aged 42, from Fulford: Wanted by HMRC for conspiracy to acquire criminal property. Panitzke was a senior member of a crime group involved in a VAT fraud. She controlled the company accounts of many companies remotely via different IP addresses. Panitzke travelled extensively to further the fraud to places including Dubai, Spain and Andorra. She was responsible for laundering approximately £1billion pounds. Panitzke absconded in May 2013 prior to the end of the trial and was convicted in her absence. She was sentenced to eight years on 22 August 2013. Eighteen members of the crime group received sentences totalling 135 years. She is described as 170cm tall, slim build with mousey straight hair, blue eyes and has a Yorkshire accent.

Mark Acklom, aged 43, from London: Wanted by Avon & Somerset Police on suspicion of fraud by false representation. Acklom allegedly make a number of false representations after starting a romantic relationship with a woman from Bath in January 2012. She said Acklom first claimed to work in the banking world in Switzerland and was very wealthy, and then later went on to say he worked for an intelligence agency. During their relationship she said they discussed marriage. After saying he had cash flow problems that were hindering renovation work at one of the properties he wanted them to live in, the woman gave him numerous loans totalling £850,000. It later transpired that Acklom did not own the property. He disappeared and she never received any of her money back. He is described as 5ft 10ins tall, medium build, dark brown hair and green eyes.

Matthew Sammon, aged 45, from London: Wanted by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of making and possessing indecent photographs of children. On 24 April 2014 a search warrant was executed at his home in Croydon as officers believed that indecent images of children had been downloaded on a computer registered at the address. He was not at home at the time. Several hard drives, computers and USB sticks were seized. He was arrested on 28 April 2014 and interviewed before being bailed to attend the police station at a later date. He failed to answer his bail and was circulated as wanted. He is described as 5ft 9ins tall, short brown hair, medium build, and speaks with a soft London accent.

Dominic McInally, aged 25, from Liverpool: Wanted by Merseyside Police on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine. McInally is the alleged leader of a drug trafficking gang that expected to bank £1.25m every month. Members of the gang travelled to the border of France and Belgium to pick up six kilos of cocaine. The package, secreted in a hidden compartment inside a Seat Leon car, was intercepted by police officers when they swooped on the gang near Crosby in January 2014. McInally evaded capture. Five members of the gang have received sentences totalling 48 years. He is described as 178cm tall and has blond hair.

Mark Quinn, aged 52, from Liverpool: Wanted by Police Scotland on suspicion of supplying amphetamine. Between August 2013 and April 2014 Quinn was allegedly involved in an organised crime group concerned in the production, transportation and distribution of amphetamine with a street value of over £11m. He is described as 5ft 9ins tall, large build and has short brown hair.

Simon McGuffie, aged 41, from Liverpool: Wanted by The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan) on suspicion of being a member of a Merseyside organised crime group involved in the large-scale supply of Cocaine, Heroin and Cannabis across the North West. He has a scarred right arm and distinctive 2” scar to the right cheek.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free 'News from the Canary Islands' paper:

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​Think twice when leaving your passport in your car

News from the Canary Islands

Car break-ins are the third biggest cause of UK passport theft
in the Canary Islands and 91% of victims are tourists

In a bid to drive down passport thefts, the British Consulates in Las Palmas & Tenerife have partnered with CICAR, one of the biggest car hire firms in the Canary Islands, to reduce theft from vehicles.

In the past 9 months, more than 450 British holidaymakers have lost their passports in the Canary Islands, with car crime accounting for around 1 in 11 of these cases1.

From this autumn, CICAR customers will be greeted by warning signs in the company’s customer service areas and receive tips for keeping their belongings safe along with their hire contract.

Being aware of the risk and taking a few simple steps to safeguard your valuables can reduce the likelihood of falling prey to thieves:

Don’t leave your passport or other valuables in a parked car. Many holidaymakers hire cars to explore the hidden beaches or practice water sports in the Canary Islands. Thieves target parked vehicles at secluded beaches and tourist hotspots.

If you have to leave belongings in the car, ensure they are locked out of sight in the boot before you park.

Wherever possible, park in secure car parks in well-lit areas.

British Vice-Consul in Tenerife, Helen Keating said:

“This initiative in the Canary Islands complements our continued work with local and airport authorities to drive down the number of stolen passports. We welcome our new partnership with CICAR and are sure this campaign will help many Brits avoid difficult and upsetting circumstances. We hope to see other car rental companies getting involved too.

“Take measures to protect your passport and avoid losing out on precious holiday time and paying out £100 for an emergency replacement.”

This project, which is part of a global Foreign Office campaign urging Britons to be #TravelAware when abroad, has been spearheaded in the Canary Islands by the British Vice-Consuls in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, Esther Martin and Helen Keating, and their respective consular teams. A similar initiative in Malaga last year resulted in an 18% reduction in British passport theft from cars.

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Auction of Solar and Wind in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands Government has announced plans to hold a new wind and solar energy auction. No date has yet been given, but the process will take place as soon as possible. The Canarian Government is currently calculating how much renewable energy the Canary Islands' electrical system can support.

In addition, the Canarian Government has come to an agreement with Spain's Industry and Energy Ministry relating to the establishment of a single deadline for all the 49 wind projects currently waiting to be implemented on the islands.

The combined capacity of these wind schemes amounts to 436.3 MW, which will increase the Canary Islands' renewables share to 21%.

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​Owner of Sports Shop Chain Stabbed in Maspalomas

Sports Shop Boss Stabbed in Maspalomas

A man has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing an entrepreneur to death in San Fernando de Maspalomas, in the south of Gran Canaria. The incident took place on the evening 11 October and is currently being investigated by the National Police.

A government delegate in the Canary Islands, Enrique Hernández Bento, confirmed that the deceased is Luis Fernandez, head of the sporting goods chain, Luis Sport.

The alleged perpetrator has been arrested following information given by friends of the victim to the local police.

Police confirmed that the alleged perpetrator attempted to avoid arrest by police, but was subsequently found and arrested at his home.

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