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GANGSTER LIVES IT UP IN TENERIFE.

Byline: MATT SLATER

A MERSEYSIDE gangster on the run in Spain was spotted living the life of luxury in Tenerife by an off-duty policeman.

Mark Lilley, 30, turned fugitive three years ago as he stood trial for his part in a pounds 1mdrug dealing plot.

Lilley, from St Helens, fled the UK and was jailed for 23 years in his absence as a hunt was launched to track him down.

But this week a policeman who went to the same secondary school as Lilley saw him in the resort of Playa de las Americas.

Lilley was behind the wheel of a top-of-the-range pounds 40,000 Mercedes car when the officer, who was on holiday, spotted him.

Now the net is closing on the drugs baron who was convicted of dealing heroin, cocaine and ecstasy and of possessing a gun.

A National Crime Squad spokesman said: ``We can confirm this sighting and we are looking at how best to use this information.

``The policeman was not on duty at that time but is helping as much as he can.''

Lilley, who is 6ft tall and weighs 20st,is said to have setup home on the island of Tenerife after previously living close to Malaga on the Spanish mainland.

During his time on Merseyside he built a reputation as one of the region's biggest drug dealers who was not afraid to use violence.

DI Sue Fraser from the National Crime Squad said he should not be approached.

``He is a very dangerous man with access to firearms and is one of the worst type of drug dealers.

``We advise members of the public on holiday or living in the Canaries not to approach him.''

When Lilley fled the National Crime Squad and Interpol launched a joint operation to bring him back to the UK.

At one point it is thought he may have moved to Northern Cyprus along with other British fugitives.

But now the hunt is focusing on Tenerife and other parts of the Canary Islands.

If anyone can help the authorities catch Lilley they should call the National Crime Squad on 0800 528 0730.

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WANTED MAN: Gangster Mark Lilley spotted in Tenerife
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 9, 2003
Words:364
Previous Article:Police honour.
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