Dutch police have recaptured one of Britain's most wanted fugitives after a late-night raid on a luxury Amsterdam apartment, detectives in the Netherlands and Britain said Thursday.

A specialist squad pounced on the plush penthouse in Amsterdam-Zuidoost in the southeast of the city and arrested 26-year-old Kirk Bradley at 11:30pm (2130 GMT) after an intensive manhunt involving officers from both countries.

Bradley had been sentenced to life in prison in absentia last year for a string of offences as a gangland boss in Liverpool, northwest England.

A source said that when police, acting on intelligence, went through the door of the luxury penthouse apartment, they found Bradley sat watching television. Stunned, he told officers he never thought he would be caught.

He was wearing a designer watch worth 15,000 euros ($20,000), had just under 1,000 euros in cash and a large knife was found next to his bed.

The penthouse was fully furnished, boasting a flat-screen television and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Last July, Bradley and his co-defendant Anthony Downes escaped from a prison van on their way to court. Two cars boxed in a prison transport van and its drivers were threatened with guns.

Bradley was later sentenced in absentia to life in jail with a minimum 22 year tariff for his role as a gangland boss in which he "gave orders for people to be seriously hurt and damage to be caused to buildings using guns and hand grenades."

Downes, 26, was arrested on March 9 in Goes in southwestern Netherlands.

A source said Downes had a handgun in the back seat of his car.

"Like his partner in crime Anthony Downes discovered only a few weeks ago, there is no such place as a safe haven," said Ian Milne, head of European Operations for Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency.

"Kirk Bradley was shocked when armed officers burst through the door of his luxury apartment in Amsterdam. He had no idea we were on to him."

Milne said Bradley and Downes were "violent and dangerous individuals" who were now "back behind bars where they belong".

"This shows that criminals who flee to other countries are not beyond our reach," he added.

Arno Julsing, chief of detectives for the Amsterdam Police, said: "The number of fugitives hiding in Amsterdam is decreasing. Our message 'Amsterdam is not the place to be' has apparently been heard. Those who still don't get it will be traced, arrested and handed over."

Liverpool's Merseyside Police said that following the arrest, Raymond Bradley, 45, wanted in Britain since January 2010 for possession of cocaine with intent to supply, was arrested in central Amsterdam early Thursday.