POLICE in Britain believe one of the country's most wanted men may have fled to the Republic of Ireland.
Alfred 'Alfie' Dear, 46, was sentenced in his absence to 21 years imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court last December for drug dealing and a cash machine raid.
The crime boss failed to appear for both the verdict and the sentencing hearing following a trial involving 11 members of a gang he led.
Ten other members of his organised crime gang were jailed for a total of 102 years for conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine in York.
The three-year investigation into Dear and his associates by North Yorkshire Police involved 26 police departments across the UK.
The drugs kingpin, from Hull but with connections to York, was later placed on the UK Crimestoppers' Most Wanted list.
It is now believed that he may have fled to Ireland, with North Yorkshire Police liaising with Gardaí to track him down.
Members of the Irish public are now being asked to report any sightings of fugitive.
We believe wanted Alfie Dear could be in #SouthernIreland and are appealing for information about his whereabouts. He is wanted after being sentenced to 21 years in jail in his absence when he failed to attend court. More info here: https://t.co/Noz2nfFtfv pic.twitter.com/vv4qnMBLLY
— North Yorkshire Police (@NYorksPolice) 13 June 2019
Dear is described as white, around 5ft 10in, with grey hair and speaks with a Yorkshire accent. He may also have grey facial hair.
In a statement, a North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: "Anyone with an immediate sighting of him in the Republic of Ireland should contact An Garda Síochána on 999 or 112.
"Anyone with information about his whereabouts should call North Yorkshire Police on 00 44 1904 618691 and pass information to the Force Control Room."
Meanwhile, Crimestoppers has offered a £5,000 (€5,600) reward for information leading to the arrest of the crime boss.
Gemma Gibbs, Crimestopper's regional manager for Yorkshire & Humber, said: "Alfred Dear has a history of criminal activity and we are appealing to people who might know where he is to contact us, with the promise that you will remain completely anonymous.
"At Crimestoppers, our charity believes everyone has the right to feel safe from crime and from intimidation.
"If you have any information on the whereabouts of Dear, then we want to hear from you."
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org using the incident number 12180199723.