Fylde coast’s most wanted rape suspect arrested

Andrew Roper
Andrew Roper
  • Suspected rapist has spent more than a decade on the run
  • Andrew Roper was caught by police in Ireland
  • He will face an extradition hearing

A suspected rapist who was once named one of the Fylde coast’s most wanted men has been arrested after more than a decade on the run.

Andrew Roper was caught by police in Ireland after evading the British authorities for years.

The 43-year-old, formerly of Station Road, Wesham, was today due in court, where he will face an extradition hearing.

Roper was placed on the wanted list when he failed to turn up to a court hearing, where he was due to answer rape charges.

He now faces being sent back to Britain after being arrested in Clonakilty, West Cork, earlier this month.

Roper went on the run after he was accused of raping a 22-year-old woman in Blackpool in May 2000.

Lancashire Police said he was questioned in relation to the incident but a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to turn up to a hearing at Preston Crown Court in April 2002.

It is thought he fled to Kent, where he was wanted by police in connection with a serious assault in November 2005.

He was the subject of numerous police appeals and appeared on a list of the UK’s most wanted men in 2006.

At the time, police said Roper, who also answered to the name Roger, was believed to be working as a taxi driver.

But after 13 years on the run, roper was picked up by the Irish Gardai on Wednesday and was refused bail at his first extradition hearing last week.

He was due in court again today as the Irish authorities decide whether he should be returned to Britain.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Andrew Roper was wanted for an alleged offence of rape between May 1, 2000, and May 31, 2000, in Blackpool.”