A MILLIONAIRE fugitive who set up a huge forgery operation in Huddersfield is heading back to West Yorkshire.
Ronald Priestley, one of Britain’s most wanted men, has been arrested in Spain.
He was detained under a European Arrest Warrant and could be brought back to Britain to face charges within 10 days.
Priestley, 69, was detained in Malaga on Wednesday afternoon in connection with currency counterfeiting offences worth £4.25m.
But seven years ago, a court convicted him of setting up a huge forgery operation in Huddersfield.
He used business premises in Emley and Skelmanthorpe to produce fake perfumes – including designer brands – and fake Champagne.
Leeds-born Priestley is the 25th person to be arrested under Operation Captura, an initiative to catch criminals wanted in the UK who are on the run in Spain.
Priestley, who is wanted by West Yorkshire Police, was featured in the first appeals under Operation Captura in October 2006, a Crimestoppers spokeswoman said.
Priestley is wanted for failing to attend Leeds Crown Court to face trial for his alleged part in the production of counterfeit banknotes with a face value of £4.25m.
Priestley had served an earlier jail sentence for a fake perfume racket in Huddersfield.
In April, 2002, he was jailed for 18 months for conspiring with others to sell counterfeit perfume and champagne.
He was said to have employed a chemist to produce thousands of bottles of scent bearing designer labels such as Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and others.
He was also producing fake CDs and fake champagne.
Police then used new laws to try and seize his assets — said to be worth more than £2.5m.
Police teams who mounted the huge operation in Huddersfield found 138,000 bottles of perfume, 1,500 bottles of wine falsely labelled as Moet and Chandon champagne and printing plates.
It was believed to be one of the biggest-ever hauls of fake perfume in Britain.
The places raided by police were in Skelmanthorpe and Emley.
One unit, in a former mill at Skelmanthorpe, had been turned into a production line, with three people employed to turn out the fake products and packaging.
A second Skelmanthorpe unit was used as a holding warehouse for boxes of perfume.
The Emley unit was a store for raw materials and packaging.
Police also recovered cheap Spanish sparkling wine labelled as champagne at the factory.
Following that conviction Priestley was ordered to pay almost £2.3m under a confiscation order — estimated to be the proceeds of his then criminal activities — or face extra years in prison.