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Britain’s “most wanted man” arrested after more than fifty years on the run

By Al Katraz

Charles Caffey, 81, from Reading, Berkshire, was arrested in connection to a string of bank robberies in the early 60s that pocketed him £60,000 (£1.4 million today) and was sentenced to 15 years in HM Reading Prison.


Two years into his sentence he was the alleged ringleader in a breakout that saw him and four other inmates escape. The four inmates were caught within two hours of the breakout but “Crafty Caffey” as he was known, managed to evade capture.

The last known sighting of Caffey was at the University of Reading War Memorial Clock Tower. “The clocktower would have provided ample protection as the large four walls that surrounded the university shielded any prison guards from seeing him,” Says, criminal historian, Oscar Wills. “We can assume that the clocktower was the extraction point that his wife, Stella, chose as she was a night cleaner at the London Road campus and knew the grounds extremely well.”

Caffey was detained by four plain clothes officers on Thursday morning at his wife’s funeral service in Beaucaire, France. Local law enforcement were tipped off about the funeral after Stella’s real name was published in the communities newspapers obituaries column instead of her alias.

Caffey has now appeared in court and has been remanded in custody as extradition proceedings begin.

NCA International Deputy Director Carl Hanratty said: “Mr Caffey has been on the run for longer than my career. Given the length of time he might have thought we had stopped searching, but he has always been on our radar.

“Joint working between UK law enforcement and our partners in France led to him being apprehended, and we will now seek his extradition back to the UK to serve his prison sentence.

“This should serve as a warning to others on our most wanted list – we will not rest until you are captured, no matter how long it takes.”

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Time is running out! Text "Caffey" to the helpline for vital information on how to reach your extraction point
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