Mafia london Domenico Rancadore
Mafia boss Domenico Rancadore was arrested in London

An Italian mafia boss who had been on the run for almost two decades has been arrested in London.

Italy's interior ministry said Domenico Rancadore, 64, aka 'U profissuri' (the professor) was apprehended by British police in the UK capital, following a request from the Italian authorities.

Rancadore reportedly tried to escape after security officials headed him off as he was returning home with his English wife.

The interior ministry described Roncadore as a "leading figure" of Sicilian Cosa Nostra. He was listed as highly dangerous in the ministry's most wanted list.

Wanted since 1994, Roncadore had been sentenced to seven years in jail for Mafia-related crimes and extortion.

According to Italian authorities Rancadore had been running a travel agency and led a well-heeled life in London.

During his years at large, Roncadore worked undercover as a qualified PE professor and also cashed in the related state pension after retiring, Il Corriere Della Sera newspaper reported.

"Officers from the MPS Extradition Unit arrested Domenico Rancadore, 64 [15.03.49] on a European Arrest Warrant alleging that he has an outstanding sentence of seven years' imprisonment to serve for participation in Mafia association between 17 December 1987 and 13 April 1995 in Palermo, Italy," a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

Scotland Yard said Rancadore is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates Court for an extradition hearing.