A MAN wanted over suspected links to the supply of guns and drugs involving a former Leeds United footballer has been arrested while on the run in Spain.

The National Crime Agency issued an international arrest warrant for Clinton Blakey, 36, formerly of Dunstarn Drive in Leeds, after he failed to turn up at Leeds Magistrates Court last year.

He had been charged in related to a Glock pistol, Howa bolt-action rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition which were seized from a property in Stainbeck Lane.

On September 30, with the help of Spanish National Police, he was tracked down and arrested in Madrid, the Spanish capital.

The guns and ammo he is accused of being linked to were being help by Paul Shepher, a former Leeds United footballer, who was convicted of possessing the weapons in June and is awaiting sentencing.

Blakey was originally arrested following Shepherd's arrest as part of Operation Venetic, a law enforcement programme to takedown encrypted communications platform EncroChat.

He was suspected of facilitating the transport of firearms and ammunition from Liverpool to Leeds where they were then stored by Shepherd.

He appeared before a Spanish Court on October 4 where proceedings for his extradition back to the UK began.

NCA Operations Manager, Nigel Coles, said: “Our team in the UK worked closely with our international liaison officer network and Spanish police to track Blakey down, leading to his re-arrest.

“Illegal firearms are used by criminals to threaten, intimidate, and destroy lives. No matter the lengths we need to go to, we never stop working to bring suspected firearms traffickers to account."

Other arrests triggered by the apprehending of Blakey and Shepherd followed in West Yorkshire, the North East and Merseyside.

Carl O'Flaherty, 36, and Shane Kameka, 40, both from Leeds, had guilt proven in arranging the transport of the guns, with Kameka handed a five month sentence in July and O'Flaherty awaiting sentence.

Gerar Wignall, 33, from Merseyside received 16 months after his DNA was found in the rifle.

Daryl Hall, 36, from Durham, is due to stand trial next year.