A suspected drug dealer who went on the run 12 years ago has been arrested – while working at a REHAB centre.
Fugitive Stephen Holmes, 55, fled the UK in 2001 after being charged with possessing class A and B drugs worth around £40,000 with intent to supply them.
He was also charged with possessing cannabis resin and amphetamines and was due to appear at Gloucester Crown Court when he went missing.
Holmes travelled “all over the world” before finally settling in Gibraltar, where he landed a job at Bruce’s Farm rehabilitation centre.
He had been working there for three years when British officials finally caught up with him and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Holmes was taken before magistrates in Gibraltar for extradition proceedings before the appearance at Gloucester Crown Court last week.
The court heard that Holmes, originally of Cheltenham, Glos., had helped 350 patients since joining the rehab centre, which is run by the Gibraltar Care Agency.
Holmes is jointly charged with son Neil, now 35, who did attend the 2001 hearing. He denied three charges of possessing cannabis resin, herbal cannabis and amphetamines with intent to supply on April 4 2001.
It is understood that his case has not yet been dealt with by the court.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC said Holmes had “been all over the world” before he was arrested.
Stipendiary Magistrate Charles Pitto said the charges were “serious drug-related matters”.
The Gibraltar Care Agency has taken steps to strengthen its vetting procedures, with employees required to produce criminal background checks.
Holmes will next appear at Gloucester Crown Court on April 8.