A FORMER Scotland Yard detective has linked the arrest of Leon Cullen to a ‘targeted shooting’ near to a children’s playground just days later.

Cullen was Warrington’s most wanted man before his capture in Dubai in January, having been on the run for two years.

Warrington Guardian:

Leon Cullen

Now Peter Bleksley, ex-chief investigator on Channel 4 show Hunted and formerly an undercover office with the Metropolitan Police, has uncovered strong links between him and another fugitive – wanted in connection with two murders – as part of his ongoing enquiries for a BBC podcast.

Warrington Guardian:

Peter Bleksley

Merseyside Police have been hunting Kevin Parle for 15 years over the fatal shootings of 16-year-old Liam Kelly and mum-of-three Lucy Hargreaves in Liverpool in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

The latest episode of Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle – released today, Thursday – focusses on his links to Michael Carroll, the alleged leader of Salford gang the Anti A-Team, and Cullen.

Parle and Cullen are thought to be connected through Carroll, with the pair seen together in Benidorm as recently as 12 months ago.

Warrington Guardian:

Kevin Parle

Carroll and 6ft6 ‘giant’ Parle are both now believed to be living out in the United Arab Emirates.

A source of Bleksley has also linked Cullen’s arrest earlier this year with a ‘targeted shooting’ on the Carrington Park estate nine days later.

Five gunshots were fired at a man close to the playground on Monks Place, off Rylands Drive, shortly after 9am on Saturday, January 11, by a suspect wearing a high-vis jacket – who sped off in an Audi with an accomplice.

Warrington Guardian:

This vehicle was later found burnt out on Back Forshaw Street in Orford.

It is suggested that a Salford-based gang were responsible, and that the intended victim is rumoured in criminal circles to be a police informant who had flown back into the country only hours earlier after a trip abroad.

The unidentified source told the podcast: “It costs five grand a month to live out in Dubai, so you’ve got to be working for someone – because nobody is going to give you five grand a month for nothing.

“As long as Parle is serving a purpose, whoever’s working with him will keep him hidden away.

“They all think it’s safe out there because there’s no extradition with England, they all go out there and float between Dubai and Thailand.

“It’s well known who does what.

“I heard that a man grassed Leon Cullen up, and that a man got shot at when he returned to Warrington a couple of weeks ago.”

Cullen is suspected of running a cocaine ring operating in the town, which made hundreds of thousands of pounds, alongside twin brother Anthony.

Members of this gang were jailed for 185 years in 2019, with Anthony Cullen currently serving a 27-year sentence.

Warrington Guardian:

Anthony Cullen

Extradition proceedings are now underway to bring Leon Cullen back to the UK.

Bleksley told the Warrington Guardian: “It is widely rumoured that the person who was shot at is a grass.

“It’s no coincidence that he flew in one day and was shot at the next day, he’d only just got off the plane.”

Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle hopes to trace the outstanding fugitive, with the detective having investigated his whereabouts for the past year.

Teenager Liam Kelly was killed in a dispute over a £200 debt, with Anthony Campbell later convicted of his murder and jailed for life.

Lucy Hargreaves died at the age of 22 after three men broke into her home, shot her, poured petrol over her and set her house on fire.

Bleksley added: “I started my hunt for Kevin Parle in April last year, and consequently a number of people have come forward to speak to me.

Warrington Guardian:

“We’ve been on an amazing journey, there have been twists and turns and disinformation and nonsense.

“Parle has been in and out of the swimming pool drinking lager and changing large amounts of British cash into Euros – all while he’s wanted for these crimes.

“I think it’s stirred up a lot of resentment towards him, with each and every passing episode the court of public opinion turns more and more heavily against him.

“All I want is for Kevin Parle to stand in a court and answer the allegations that have been made against him, it is simple as that.

“If this podcast leads to his capture, that will be terrific – because there may then be some resolution for Liam, Lucy, their loved ones and their families.”

If you have information on the whereabouts of Kevin Parle, email peterbleksley@msn.com or call 07908617694