Prisoner uses inmate’s papers to escape
AN investigation is underway at a Suffolk jail after an inmate managed to escape by claiming to be a fellow prisoner.
James Whitlock, 25, is currently serving a sentence for theft at St Edmund Hill prison at Stradishall, near Bury St Edmunds.
But yesterday Whitlock, who has a number of Essex connections, managed to flee prison by claiming to be a fellow inmate.
A police search was last night in full swing trying to catch him and return him to jail.
Prison authorities say they are investigating the blunder.
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A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “We can confirm that a prisoner from HMP Edmunds Hill left the prison without authorisation this morning after claiming a licence for temporary release in another prisoner’s name. “An investigation has been launched at the prison and this matter is now in the hands of the police.”
Newly elected MP for West Suffolk Matthew Hancock said: “My first thought is for the safety of residents near the prison. We need to catch this man as soon as possible.
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“There must also be a full and swift inquiry to find out how this happened and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Whitlock is described as white, of slight build, with brown hair. He was last seen wearing a blue and white short sleeve top and blue jeans.
He has connections to Walton on the Naze, Great Dunmow, Frinton on Sea, Kirby Cross and Chingford in the Essex area, and to Maidenhead in Berkshire.
Police have urged anyone who sees Whitlock to contact them with details. They should not approach him or take any further action, police say.
Anyone who may have seen him, or who may have information about where he is now, should call Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or contact their nearest police station.