The number of people in Britain seized under the controversial "no-evidence-needed" European Arrest Warrant rose by more than 50 per cent last year, figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show.
Foreign prosecutors do not have to present evidence to the British courts, just demand the person be "surrendered".
It can be revealed that a middle-aged motorist from Kent spent weeks in a British prison after Polish prosecutors sought his extradition on charges of possessing a forged car insurance certificate.
Patrick Reece-Edwards, 49, was stopped at a Polish border crossing. After questioning, he was allowed to drive off, but months later was seized at his home in Dartford under a European Arrest Warrant.
"He was kept in custody in Britain for weeks,” said his solicitor, Stephen Fidler. “After he was extradited to Poland, matters were resolved by payment of an administrative penalty with no criminal record.”
Another of Mr Fidler’s clients is fighting extradition to Romania after being convicted there of possessing a small quantity of cannabis. He is in his third month in a British prison and is likely to be there at least a further two months before his appeal against the European Arrest Warrant is heard. “Aside from the disproportionality of these cases, the costs to the British authorities are huge,” said Mr Fidler. “Those resources should go towards tackling serious crime in the UK, not minor crime abroad.”